Vietnam begs public for ‘vaccine fund’ donations after virus surge

Vietnam, once a model for its successful handling of the pandemic, is asking for donations to buy vaccines as it struggles to contain a new COVID-19 wave.

The Southeast Asian country has vaccinated just 1% of its population of nearly 100 million, and authorities are increasingly alarmed by a recent spike in cases.

Mobile phone users have received up to three text messages urging them to contribute to a COVID-19 vaccine fund, while civil servants are encouraged to part with a day’s pay.

Some residents, fearful of the virus’ impact on Vietnam’s economy — one of the few in the world to expand last year — said they support the fundraising drive.

Vietnam’s industrial northern provinces — home to key factories such as Samsung — were particularly badly hit by the latest outbreak. Cases have more than tripled since April to reach almost 9,000.

The government has said it aims to secure 150 million vaccine doses to cover 70 percent of its population.

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