COVID-19 Vaccine Fund

Spreading spirit of national unity to fight against pandemic

Tuesday, 2021-06-08 17:05:22
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VNPT Group donates VND400 billion to the COVID-19 Vaccine Fund at its launching ceremony. (Photo: NDO)
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NDO - Many trillions of Vietnamese dongs have been continuously flowing into the accounts of the COVID-19 vaccine fund since June 5, affirming the belief and consensus of the whole society and people from all walks of life for the strategic orientation of the Party, State and Government in the fight against the pandemic.

The strategic direction is to realise the goal of free vaccination for the whole population to achieve herd immunity, towards escaping the pandemic and returning to normal life.

Strength raised from faith

Following the live report of the launch ceremony of the COVID-19 Vaccine Fund, Nguyen Trung Quan, a pensioner living in Vinh Tuy ward (Hoang Mai district, Hanoi) asked his son to transfer VND500,000 to the Fund’s bank account in response to the call of the Government leaders. He said that this small amount expressed the responsibility and sharing of a citizen in the face of the generally difficult situation the country faces. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic’s fourth wave, Quan has actively joined hands with the community to fight the epidemic as he has always reminded his children and grandchildren to limit leaving home and implement the 5K message of the Ministry of Health to avoid spreading the disease in the community.

At the launch ceremony of the COVID-19 Vaccine Fund, held on the evening of June 5, all were really touched to witness the enthusiastic contributions from socio-political organisations and people from all walks of life. The Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee donated over VND1.016 trillion (nearly US$44.3 million); meanwhile the Golden Heart Charity Fund from the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour gave aid of VND150 billion (over US$6.5 million). Donors were people of all ages including 15-year-old student Le Duc Hieu from Pham Hong Thai High School (Ba Dinh District, Hanoi); Nguyen Manh Tuong (82), a retired officer from the railway industry; Doctor Dong Phu Khiem, Deputy Head of Intensive Care Department under the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases; Khuat Viet Dung, Vice Chairman of Vietnam Veterans Association; the Most Venerable Thich Thanh Nhieu, Standing Vice Chairman of the Central Executive Council of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha; and Archdiocese Joseph Vu Van Thien, Deputy Secretary General of Catholic Bishops' Conference of Vietnam. The support shows the strong tradition of solidarity of the Vietnamese people, as emphasized by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh at the launch ceremony. This tradition has always shone even brighter as the country faced difficulties such as war, natural disasters, storms, floods and epidemics.

A major contributor to the Fund has been the business community. After three days, the Committee for the Management of State Capital had mobilised all member groups and corporations to an amount of VND2.565 trillion (nearly US$112 million). In the context that businesses have been affected heavily due to the impact of the pandemic, this was truly a great effort. They all agreed that this is the time to affirm the responsibility and position of enterprises, especially state-owned ones. In addition to their role as the core force supporting the State to regulate and promote the economic development of the country, they have demonstrated their responsibility to the community, contributing to ensuring the nation’s social security and welfare.

As an important economic group, Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PVN) has contributed VND400 billion (over US$17.4 million) to the COVID-19 Vaccine Fund. Secretary of the Party Committee cum Chairman of the Board of Members of PVN Hoang Quoc Vuong said that since the appearance of the pandemic, PVN has shown its responsibility to and role in the community, joining hands with the Party, State and localities to prevent and control the epidemic, towards maintaining safety for people and production, contributing to the realisation of the “dual goals” of effective COVID-19 prevention and control and socio-economic development. In the context of outbreaks and complicated developments, it is crucial to call for the support of domestic and foreign organisations and individuals to maintain the Fund’s development in the coming time. As a result, the fight against COVID-19 will be moved to a proactive attack, towards herd community.

Secretary of the Party Committee cum Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Vietnam Airports Corporation (AVC), Lai Xuan Thanh, stated that the corporation has donated VND200 billion (over US$8.7 million) to the Fund with the aspiration of contributing to the cause of preventing and repelling the COVID-19 pandemic and protecting people’s health and lives as well as maintaining social stability and implementing the Government’s “dual goals”. Chairman of the Board of Directors of Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) Duong Quang Thanh added that the group had decided to contribute VND400 billion to the Fund. Since late April, the total amount of donations that EVN and its member units have made to provinces and cities heavily affected by the pandemic and to the COVID-19 prevention and control activities launched by the healthcare sector is over VND408 billion (nearly US$18 million).

The COVID-19 Vaccine Fund has also received contributions from many other businesses including the Long Thanh Golf Investment and Trading Joint Stock Company at VND500 billion (over US$21.7 million); Vingroup at VND480 billion (over US$20.9 million); and Sovio Group and HDBank at VND100 billion (over US$4.3 million). Earlier, many other enterprises had donated many billions of Vietnamese dongs to many localities to fight against the pandemic.

Publicity and transparency for effective use

According to economic experts, the COVID-19 pandemic is still very complicated and the current outbreak is more dangerous than the previous one. Therefore, the involvement of the whole political system and society is essential in the fight against the pandemic. The State budget has tried to secure spending sources to control the epidemic; however, the participation of people from all walks of life, including enterprises and organisations is vital, whether small or large. In that context, the Fund waslaunched with the mission of mobilising all the resources of the whole community side by side with the State budget.

Emphasising Vietnam's anti-epidemic achievements over the past year, economic expert Nguyen Tri Hieu said that Vietnam's adjustment of its anti-epidemic strategy to now promoting vaccination and herd community is a very important and prompt transition. In particular, the establishment of the COVID-19 Vaccine Fund and the call for people’s contributions to the Fund is a necessary and reasonable step in the context of limited budget resources and many urgent expenditure needed in relation to the task of combating the pandemic. “The large amount of donations to the Fund in the early days demonstrates the high level of social responsibility of the people, enterprises, organisations and unions “, added Hieu.

According to the Deputy Director of the Central Institute for Economic Management Phan Duc Hieu, the Government has decided that vaccination is a fundamental, long-term, decisive and strategic solution to escape the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, first of all, it is essential to have enough resources to buy vaccines. The whole world cannot predict whether the COVID-19 epidemic can be extinguished, so all resources must be mobilised to expand the COVID-19 Vaccine Fund’s scale so it can be maintained and used in the long term. Therefore, joint contributions from individuals and enterprises alongside the resources of the Government are essential. They, no matter how big or small, come from the heart, a mutual responsibility to each commune and solidarity with the State.

Once the Fund was launched, the Ministry of Finance issued a guidance on the organisation, operation, management, use, accounting, settlement, and financial disclosure of the Fund. Accordingly, the Fund will be used to support the purchase and import of vaccines as well as the research and production of domestic vaccines and the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. The first and most important principle of the establishment and use of the Fund is to ensure publicity and transparency and the highest level of operational efficiency. The Fund's financial reports will be publicised on the website of the Ministry of Finance as well as being announced at meetings, posted at the Fund's headquarters, published and notified in publications at the relevant agencies, organisations and units, and in the mass media.

According to Dr. Vo Tri Thanh, Director of the Institute for Brand and Competitiveness Strategy, these are essential regulations to ensure the transparent management and supervision of the Fund in order to serve the people’s health and happiness, a principle committed to by the Government. Regarding the authority who will decide on the expenditure of the Fund, it is essential to employ experts to get more advice on medical issues, thereby gaining a clearer overview regarding the optimum process to utilise the Fund.

As of 3 pm on June 7, 227,862 organisations and individuals had given total donations of VND1.425 trillion (over US$62.03 million) and VND4.562 trillion (nearly US$198.6 million) had been pledged by sponsors but not yet transferred. In addition to organisations and enterprises, around 2,000 individuals, with donation of VND5 million each, have contributed to the Fund.

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