On June 21, 2021, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) issued to the Minister of Health a proposal of including seafood processing workers and export workers in the priority list for Covid-19 vaccination.
Latest covid-19 outbreak has penetrated many plant factories, affecting worker’s condition and productivity. As Vietnam is failing to import massive amounts of vaccines, factories cannot bear the risks for their employees and don’t have any other choice that to shut down.
For instance, the seafood processing and export industry has been identified as a key economic sector with an average annual export turnover of over $8.5 billion for 3 consecutive years from 2018 to 2020, in the Top 8 industries. Both industries bring the major export turnover of the country.
The factories were first authorized to remain active if they could meet government social distancing restrictions, that is to say organize accommodation and food on site for each worker.
However, how long factories will be able to financially support full accommodation for their worker? Maintaining production is still the goal, but at what cost? How long plants will be profitable? How long workers will accept to stay away from their homes and family?
Currently, many businesses have signed orders until the end of the year. Failure to produce and deliver on time will result in fines, cancellation of orders, and damage to the entire industry that can reach billions of dollars.
The main solution is the vaccine. Experience shows that vaccinated workers benefit from a protection efficiency up to 90% after 2 shots. It is the key answer to respond to a very infectious variant and limit risks for workers, citizens and business. It will replace and save costs compared to daily accommodation and daily testing cost for each member of a company.
But how to get vaccine for seafood and exporting industry?
Firstly, government is studying the proposal to include seafood and exporting workers on the priority list to receive vaccines.
As vaccine is a rare commodity in Vietnam, government kindly asked to different associations and business in Vietnam to help to source and receive vaccines. World major companies rely on Vietnamese production, in order to avoid negative impact on their business, they could trade vaccines instead, through dealing with their country government.
Companies, depending their size and their ability to finance vaccines purchase, will receive help from government and associations.
It will take a little time to receive and distribute vaccines to all the workers from the seafood industry. We kindly ask to our all partners to be patient and comprehensive about the situation as we do our best to adapt regarding our means.
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