European, US business executives in VN urge faster COVID vaccination

Sunday, May 30, 2021 14:29

A Vietnam News Agency reporter gets vaccinated in HCM City. — VNS Photo

The Government needs to allow companies to vaccinate staff at their own cost, members of the European Chamber of Commerce in Viet Nam (EuroCham) have said.

The business group said it asked the members how private companies can support the Government’s vaccination drive and it is impacting their business operations.

Four in five (79 per cent) business executives polled agreed that businesses should be able to inoculate their workforce, saying this would reduce the burden on public funds while also helping accelerate the Government’s vaccination drive, it said.

EuroCham supported the Government’s ambitious target to vaccinate 75 per cent of the population, saying it would be essential to revive international trade and investment that is critical to VietNam’s economic growth.

Eurocham’s members also want the Government to ease quarantine regulations for investors and experts who have been vaccinated in their home countries.

Over two-thirds of those polled (70 per cent) said their companies face obstacles due to the current restrictions, 79 per cent said the three-week quarantine would keep specialists out of Viet Nam, affecting foreign investment and hurt the operations of companies who depend on them.

Some 81 per cent said the Government should reduce the quarantine length for vaccinated foreign experts and their families arriving in Viet Nam to one week.

Alain Cany, the chairman of EuroCham, said: “Viet Nam has been one of the world leaders in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Swift border closures, strict quarantine measures and targeted local lockdowns have kept infections low and enabled domestic business activities to resume.

“However, this is not a permanent solution and it cannot continue for much longer without damaging economic growth. While Viet Nam’s borders are closed, other countries are rolling out vaccinations and reopening their doors to the world. So there is now a real risk that Vietnam could fall behind unless it implements its own mass vaccination program at scale and pace.

“The private sector including foreign enterprises can help speed up Viet Nam’s vaccination efforts. Our companies can provide both world-leading equipment and the international expertise essential for a successful mass vaccination programme.

“Viet Nam has set the global standard for COVID-19 prevention. The challenge now is to match that success with an ambitious and accelerated mass vaccination programme. If this can be achieved, there is no doubt that Viet Nam will rebound and recover. This will also help meet the government’s twin goals of protecting the population and boosting economic growth.”

Last week the American Chamber of Commerce in Ha Noi (Amcham) had published a similar survey, saying its members repeatedly stressed the need to get more people vaccinated, with 88 per cent saying they or their company would pay for vaccinations.

The survey found 81 per cent of members saying their company would bring more people to Viet Nam if the mandatory quarantine period is reduced from 21 days to seven.

However, foreign ministry spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang said on Thursday there is no plan to adjust policies related to foreign arrivals, including the mandatory 21-day quarantine.

The country has no specific policy for the so-called vaccine passports, she said.

But she added: “Amid the complicated developments of the coronavirus pandemic around the world … policies and measures pertaining to monitoring and quarantining of people entering Viet Nam are always flexible … to both … protect public health and to resume business activities.”

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has issued a resolution approving the establishment of a COVID-19 vaccine fund.

It will accept and manage financial and vaccine donations from local and foreign sources meant for importing vaccines, researching and producing them in Viet Nam and immunising the population. — VNS

Comments (0)