Last update on 16/09/2021

COVID-19 vaccination in Vietnam

While the world hopes for a return to normalcy through vaccination against COVID, Vietnam has launched its vaccination campaign since March 8, 2021 on the priority groups. What is the vaccination situation in Vietnam? The CCIFV reviews the press and official sources and provides you with an update.

Current situation

The Vietnamese Health Ministry has issued its vaccination rollout plan, including the 16 priority groups, for the 2021-2022 period with an overall goal of reaching herd immunity by early 2022. The vaccines are mainly from the WHO-led Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) initiative, created to ensure supplies for developing countries. Vietnam as an eligible recipient is set to receive millions of doses throughout 2021.

The priority groups:

  1. Medical workers
  2. Those who participate in COVID-19 prevention and control work (members of steering committees on COVID-19 prevention and control, staff working in quarantine camps, volunteers, reporters)
  3. Military personnel
  4. Police force
  5. Vietnamese diplomats and their relatives; people working in diplomatic missions and international organizations in Viet Nam
  6. Customs and immigration officers
  7. Those working to maintain the supply of essential services such as aviation, transportation, tourism, electricity and water supply
  8. Teachers, students, young doctors, people working in agencies and administrative units, law, notaries and auctioneers organizations who frequently contact with many people
  9. People with chronic diseases, people aged 65 and over
  10. Residents in pandemic-hit areas
  11. Poor people and social policy beneficiaries
  12. People who are sent by a competent authority to study or work abroad or others who wish to go abroad to study or work, and foreign experts working in Viet Nam
  13. Factory workers and their relatives
  14. Religious dignitaries
  15. Freelance workers
  16. Other subjects decided by the Minister of Health and Chairpersons of provincial/municipal People's Committees or proposed by vaccine donors.

The plan is being  implemented nationwide from July 2021, with priority given to :

  • Pandemic-hit provinces and cities
  • Localities in key economic regions 
  • Industrial and populous localities
  • Localities with international border gates.

 

The Ministry of Health has set the target of 150 million doses to vaccinate 75% of the Vietnamese population. The Minister of Health, Nguyen Thanh Long, announced that Vietnam had successfully negotiated with AstraZeneca, Pfizer / BioNTech and the COVAX initiative (a global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.COVAX is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi and the World Health Organization (WHO), alongside key delivery partner UNICEF).

Vietnamese authorities are awaiting the arrival of vaccine doses, which should be spread over time. In 2021, the goal is to receive 100 million doses including:

  • 38.9 million from COVAX
  • 30 million AstraZeneca
  • 31 million from Pfizer / BioNTech.

The first vaccine to be approved was AstraZeneca in early 2021. On March 23rd, the Sputnik V vaccine was approved in Vietnam "for emergency use" to help achieve the total target of 150 million doses. On 2nd June, the government reached an agreement to import 20 million doses of the Russian vaccine. This was followed on 4th June by the official announcement that China’s SinoPharm vaccine had been approved for emergency use, with 500,000 doses of the Vero Cell arriving in Hanoi on 20th June. These will be essentially used for Chinese citizens living in Vietnam, Vietnamese citizens who will go study or work in China and for people located near China’s borders.

On 13th June, it was officially announced that the Pfizer vaccine had been approved in Vietnam for emergency use as well. A portion of the 31 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine is due to arrive in the country in July. The latest vaccine to be approved, on 29th June, is the Moderna. According to the Vietnamese Health Authorities, the Moderna vaccine that will be supplied to Vietnam can be manufactured in France or Spain. Finally on 15th July, the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine was the sixth to be approved in Vietnam for emergency use.

On 30th May, the Vietnamese Prime Minister launched an appeal to the private sector to provide financial assistance for the importation of doses into Vietnam. At the same time, the European Chamber of Commerce (EuroCham) informs us, through a survey to their 1000 members, that 79% of European companies would be ready to pay for the vaccination of their employees based in Vietnam.

During a telephone exchange, and among other topics discussed to further boost trade between France and Vietnam, Prime Minister Jean Castex reasserted France’s support to Vietnam in securing much needed COVID-19 vaccines and helping speed up the rollout. On August 12, it was announced that France had decided to share with Vietnam, via the Covax program, 670,000 doses of Astrazeneca vaccine.

As of August 13, Vietnam had received more than 9,100,000 doses of vaccines in different shipments, through COVAX; the remainder of the 38,900,000 pledged will arrive gradually in the country. As of the same date, a total of around 18 million vaccines have arrived in Vietnam either through direct purchases or through COVAX.

The vaccination process started on March 8, 2021. According to reports from the Health Ministry,  the national total of administered doses was just over 27 million as of September 13, with just over 5% of the population having received 2 doses.

Vaccination of French nationals in Vietnam

On 13 July, the French Embassy in Hanoi and the Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City announced the organisation of a vaccination campaign for the French community and agents of the French diplomatic network in Vietnam, with the authorisation of the Vietnamese authorities.

The vaccine provided by the French authorities is the Moderna messenger RNA vaccine (two injections) licensed in France and the European Union and approved by Vietnam.

The following are eligible for this vaccination 

  • French nationals currently in Vietnam over 18 years of age and their spouse (married or civil union), regardless of nationality;
  • foreign parents of French children under 18 years of age;
  • French government employees and their spouses.

The vaccination is taking place in two partner hospitals: the French Hospital of Hanoi (HFH) and the Franco-Vietnamese Hospital of Ho Chi Minh City (HFV). Vaccination is done by appointment only. The Embassy and Consulate General will not make any appointments themselves.

In Hanoi, the vaccination campaign is taking place from July 22 to July 29 (inclusive) for the first injection, then from August 26 to August 31 (inclusive) then September 6 and 7, 2021 for the second injection, at the French Hospital of Hanoi (Số 1 Phương Mai, Đống Đa, Hà Nội).

In Ho Chi Minh City, the vaccination campaign began on 27th July and is expected to last for about two weeks. The second injection will take place a month later. The FV Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, (6 Nguyen Luong Bang St., Phu My Hung, Dist. 7, HCMC) has been taking appointments since 15th July.

Due to the lockdown ordered by the Vietnamese authorities, the French citizens stranded in different Vietnamese provinces and wishing to be vaccinated, will be able to do so in HCMC or Hanoi as soon as travel is possible. Their vaccine doses are being stored safely, in medical freezers until December 2021. However, if by then a vaccination is offered to you by the local authorities, the Embassy advises you to accept, because even if the vaccines are not all the same, all vaccines have a protective effect.

For information on how to apply for the “Health Pass”, please read our article “Travelling to France”, section “Health Pass for French expats

Vaccination status within the French community vaccination campaign in Ho Chi Minh City

For people who have received at least one injection by the FV hospital of Ho Chi Minh City as part of the vaccination campaign for the French community, it is possible to obtain a confirmation via the following website:

https://tiemchungcovid19.gov.vn/portal/search

The "name" and "telephone" fields should be filled in identical to what was reported on the day of your injection, or as indicated on your vaccination certificate, your date of birth and your gender.

Your vaccination status will then be visible, yellow for one injection and green for two injections. An official mobile app, Sổ sức khỏe điện tử (SSKDT) – Vietnamese digital health book, once a profile is created, automatically displays your status. This may not be completely stable, due to regular updates, data may temporarily disappear. Similarly, the transfer of data may not in itself be immediate.

CAUTION: This procedure can be performed by people vaccinated through the FV hospital, as well as those vaccinated by the Vietnamese authorities.

At this point, to our knowledge, the injections made abroad cannot be specified.

It should also be noted that the use of "yellow" and "green" health passes has not yet been formally defined by Vietnamese health authorities, both in Ho Chi Minh City and nationally. The full implementation of a single national health pass will be decided in the near future.

Outlook

While concerns over interruption of global supply chains linger due to serious outbreaks of COVID-19, Vietnam is attempting to remain on the front foot with continued business confidence and inflow of foreign investment.

New data from the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham) shows that European business leaders started 2021 positive and optimistic about Vietnam’s trade and investment environment. As shown in EuroCham’s Business Climate Index, the index hit 73.9 points in the first quarter of 2021, the highest score recorded since the third quarter of 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic hit global trade and investment. This continues a positive trend in the index, with the score rising more than 47 points over the last 12 months.

The confidence is reflected in the latest statistics from Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI). In the first quarter, the country’s total FDI even reached $10.13 billion, up 18.5 per cent on-year.

The MPI’s Foreign Investment Agency said that foreign-invested enterprises are continuing their recovery, and maintaining their business operations in Vietnam. 

The immunity rate of the Vietnamese population remains very low, so if the management of foreign entries is lax, the risks of the virus spreading in the community could prove to be uncontrollable.

Regarding entries into the territory, the Ministry of Health has proposed that those who receive the recommended vaccinations could see their quarantine time reduced. Senior officials from the ministry and the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control have not yet validated this possibility.

In addition, Vietnam is considering the pilot application of vaccine passports, a certificate proving that one has been vaccinated against COVID-19. The World Health Organization (WHO) has not yet recommended the program. Only Singapore is piloting the measure, on a limited scale.

Ultimately, the Committee decided to target the dual objective of making maximum efforts to protect the community from the pandemic while opening doors to facilitate economic development. This would include mass vaccination of Vietnamese citizens and coordinating with other countries to classify those allowed to enter Vietnam.

With the vaccination passport, in particular, Vietnam would divide the participants into three different groups:

  • The first group would consist of Vietnamese citizens stranded abroad and having received the Covid-19 vaccine. The Ministry of Health will be responsible for providing detailed advice on the isolation and tracking of arrivals from different countries. A similar protocol would also apply to Vietnamese businessmen returning home after going abroad in search of investment and business opportunities.
  • The second group would be made up of foreigners entering Vietnam to invest and do business. The Ministry of Health would specify the protocol for screening, medical isolation and medical follow-up depending on the nationality of the participants and the vaccines administered to them.
  • The third group would include international tourists. For this category, the Ministry of Health would work with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and submit to the committee specific plans to allow international tourists.

Vietnam is expected to welcome visitors from countries that have essentially brought the pandemic under control and those that have rolled out vaccination programs to achieve community immunity.

Finally, Vietnamese aviation authorities have proposed allowing foreign passengers vaccinated into the country from September without requiring centralized quarantine. This measure has not been validated to date.

 

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© Article written by the France-Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIFV). Reproduction rights reserved.

The CCIFV strives to provide accurate and updated information and will correct, to the extent possible, any errors that are brought to its attention.
However, the CCIFV cannot be held responsible for the use and interpretation of the information contained herein.

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