Vietnam opts for containment over 'high risk' rush for costly vaccine | Inquirer News

Vietnam opts for containment over ‘high risk’ rush for costly vaccine

/ 06:08 PM November 06, 2020
Vietnam opts for containment over 'high risk' rush for costly vaccine

FILE PHOTO: A woman wears a protective mask as she drives past a banner promoting prevention against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Hanoi, Vietnam July 31, 2020. REUTERS/Kham/File Photo

HANOI — Vietnam will stick to its strategy of containing COVID-19 rather than rush to secure a supply of a vaccine that could be financially risky, the head of the country’s coronavirus task force said on Friday.

Through months of aggressive mass testing, military-run centralized quarantine, and early border closures, Vietnam has kept its coronavirus tally to just 1,210 cases and gone over two months without community transmission.

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Just 35 people have died from COVID-19 in Vietnam, according to official data, with the country widely praised for its decisive response to quelling outbreaks.

“The vaccine is a story for the future,” task force chief and deputy prime minister, Vu Duc Dam, told a government meeting on Friday.

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“Demand is far higher than supply, and we have to pay large deposits to secure our position, which I see as very high risk and a waste of money and time.”

“We will continue to deal with COVID as we are now,” said Dam.

In August, as Vietnam fought a new outbreak of the virus after more than three months without local transmission, Hanoi said it had registered to buy 50-150 million doses of a Russian vaccine.

Vietnam will also buy from Britain, where it has a partnership to develop a home-grown vaccine with the University of Bristol.

“We have to be prepared for the fact that the pandemic will not end until 2021,” said Dam. “Our home-grown vaccine will enter human trials this month but won’t be available until end-2021.”

Vietnam has spent nearly 18 trillion dong ($776.7 million) on containing the virus and its impacts, official data shows.

Its measures have put its economy on track to recover faster than most.

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In September, the government said it was targeting gross domestic product growth of 2.0%-2.5% this year and 6.7% in 2021.

($1 = 23,177 dong)

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