Regarding to the Government's efforts in the COVID-19 fight, Rana Flowers said that, adopting the slogan: "Fighting the pandemic like an enemy", Viet Nam has tried its best in mobilizing participation and support from the entire political system and from the public for the COVID-19 response.
Many effective measures were firmly implemented such as early detection, rapid tracing and strict quarantine. Once COVID-19 vaccines were introduced, Viet Nam promptly and proactively took actions to secure supply as well as to administer the vaccines nation-wide.
One of the strengths in Viet Nam is the solidarity of the people–the way the people of Viet Nam listened and understood what they had to do–not only to protect self alone but also to protect each other. That spirit is inspiring.
"It really reinforces my impression that when the Government of Viet Nam sets its mind to doing something–they can do anything and do it well if the commitment is there", underscored the UNICEF Representative.
The percentage of COVID-19 cases and mortality rates of Viet Nam continue to remain low compared to many other countries, and this was the result of prevention and control strategies adopted by the Government of Viet Nam.
As of now, Viet Nam has achieved very high vaccination coverage, which is largely credited to the country's strong commitment from the highest level of the Government, active participation of related ministries, the fact that the people themselves understood the power of vaccination to protect from overburdened health systems and from death of their loved ones.
Rana Flowers highlighted Viet Nam's successful mobilization of support from companies, organizations and the public through the "Vaccine Fund" launched in June last year, adding that vaccine diplomacy has been key to Viet Nam having the supply it needs to reach the number of people that have now been vaccinated.
The country has exhibited amazing commitment and solidarity towards COVID-19 vaccination and as the result, managed to secure large quantities of various COVID-19 vaccine products.
Even before the pandemic hit, Viet Nam had a strong immunization system in place at all administrative levels. For COVID-19 vaccination, the system was further strengthened and received much support from other sectors (such as from the military, the police and the education sector) to deploy the biggest vaccination campaign ever known to the country.
The UNICEF Representative emphasized that, these joint efforts enabled Viet Nam to roll out COVID-19 vaccination at an incredible speed, reach most of the target population regardless of their social or economic status and become one of the countries with highest COVID-19 vaccination coverage in the world.
According to Rana Flowers, despite having achieved high vaccination coverage, Viet Nam cannot afford to be complacent, especially considering the emergence of new variants with high transmission rate and complexity.
Fully vaccinating the remaining eligible population and administering additional and booster doses in a timely and appropriate manner are necessary to minimize the number of new cases, lower the risk of severe illness caused by COVID-19 and reduce COVID-19 related mortalities.
While vaccination is a big part of the answer to COVID-19, it is not the complete solution. Some population groups have not been or cannot be vaccinated and vaccinated people are still at risk of getting infected or spreading the disease if caution is not taken. Viet Nam should continue to implement its "5K" strategy which together with high vaccination coverage can effectively reduce transmission of the virus.
In addition, the country should make concrete efforts to further enhance its health system's capacity to treat severe cases at subnational level through improvements in terms of medical equipment and human resources, so that they are prepared for scenarios of large outbreaks, she recommended.
As the key delivery partner of COVAX Facility, UNICEF facilitates the delivery of over 47 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines (almost 10 million more than initially allocated) together with corresponding injection devices to Viet Nam in 2021.- Photo: unicef.org
The UNICEF is very proud to have been a part of COVAX ensuring the distribution of vaccines to countries, being a constant voice that vaccines be distributed equitably, underscored the UNICEF Representative.
Many COVAX donors and other countries have also donated vaccines either directly or through COVAX–and the vaccine diplomacy has been key to Viet Nam having the supply it needs to reach the number of people that have now been vaccinated.
As the key delivery partner of COVAX Facility, UNICEF facilitated the delivery of over 47 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines (almost 10 million more than initially allocated) together with corresponding injection devices to Viet Nam in 2021.
One of the UNICEF's key support to Viet Nam is the procurement and operationalization of cold chain equipment (including 2,612 refrigerators, deep freezers and Ultra Low Temperature freezers) to strengthen the country's cold chain system at both national and subnational levels, ensuring that Viet Nam has sufficient capacity to safely store and distribute large number of COVID-19 vaccines as well as other routine vaccines.
The UNICEF's comprehensive support package for COVID-19 vaccination in Viet Nam also covers other areas such as procurement of necessary devices for COVID-19 prevention and vaccination, capacity building, policy and guidelines, monitoring and supervision, communications and more.
Via UNICEF, COVAX Facility will continue to supply Viet Nam with at least another 15 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines and related injection devices in the first quarter of 2022.
Moreover, the UNICEF will maintain existing support in terms of vaccine delivery to facilitate the high coverage of additional and booster doses while also contribute to strengthening the country's health system for both COVID-19 and routine immunization beyond 2022.
These are some of the areas that UNICEF will pursue in 2022 and beyond – with a vision that sees Viet Nam a leader in this region, a powerhouse for inclusive and green economic growth – where no one in Viet Nam, on child is left behind, noted Rana Flowers.