Not a mere percentage
VGP - The high vaccination coverage is not a mere percentage. More importantly, it means lives saved from hospitalization and death, health facilities spared from being overwhelmed and more communities with revived local economies.
Ms. Rana Flowers, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Viet Nam made the above statement at the COVID-19 Vaccine Appreciation Ceremony held recently in Ha Noi.
She said Viet Nam's management of the COVID-19 pandemic over the last two years has "set a standard", including having one of the highest vaccination acceptance rates in the world.
The leadership of the government coupled with the solidarity of its people throughout this period will stand as a key lesson of the pandemic era, Flowers emphasized.
"Today – we are not pretending that this journey is over, nor that the pandemic is now under control - but we are pausing to celebrate you all present here today – all that have ensured vaccines are available, all that have prioritized the strongest possible protection for the poorest and most vulnerable," stated Flowers.
She recalled that "Almost exactly two years ago, on March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. As we all know only too well, that virus quickly travelled around the world, and as of today more than 450 million people, and counting, have been infected. Tragically, more than 6 million have lost their lives.
At that time two years ago, we didn't know the full extent of the impact of the pandemic, but quickly realized that we faced one of the most pressing challenges of our time. And in response, we pulled together in an unprecedented manner.
COVAX –the vaccine arm of the ACT accelerator –came about because of a stunning foresight and the strongest sense of global solidarity to create the kind of global collaboration hitherto unseen to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.
Over time, as the reality of the pandemic set in – the supporters to COVAX have expanded, including the Government of Viet Nam. We thank you. Today, bilateral partners, private sector support has added even more doses – contributing to the Vaccine diplomacy that directly benefits the people of Viet Nam. We thank you all."
Less than one year after the first vaccines were delivered, in January 2022 – COVAX delivered its one billionth COVID-19 vaccine dose. As of March 11, COVAX has shipped 1.36bn doses to 144 participating countries. This first billion represents an incredible milestone.
Within a year, COVAX met its 2021 goal for lower-income countries (1.2 billion allocated versus a target of 950m). COVAX represented on the ground by WHO and UNICEF continue to work with governments, manufacturers, and partners to ensure that when countries receive vaccines, they have the capacity to get them to people quickly, safely and equitably.
As emphasized by the UN leader on the COVID-19 management and an essential pillar of COVAX, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, as of 11 March 2022: out of 194 Member States, 19 WHO Member States have vaccinated less than 10 percent of their population and 78 less than 40 percent.
With updated vaccines in the pipeline, now is the moment for all to insist that the technology, the health tools are shared, made available to all, creating the kind of reach that will finally bring an end to the death and destruction cycles of this pandemic, limit new variants and drive a global economic recovery. It is also the moment for action to prevent Viet Nam being the source of the next pandemic by prohibiting the sale and consumption of wildlife.
As of today, COVAX has delivered more than 61 million doses of vaccine to Viet Nam. Bilateral donors have also provided more than 31 million vaccine doses.
As early as December 2021, Viet Nam had already achieved the goal set by WHO of a shared target of vaccinating at least 70 percent of every country's population by the middle of this year. Viet Nam's achievement resulted from deft vaccine diplomacy and the readiness of the health system to deploy the vaccines safely and efficiently.
Flowers pledged that WHO and UNICEF will continue to support the Government of Viet Nam in providing technical guidance in the efficient and equitable rollout of vaccines.
Recently, WHO also announced Viet Nam as one of the mRNA vaccine technology transfer recipients. The initiative will help ensure vaccine security for the country and the region./.