Update: 15:29 | 13/07/2021
Vietnam on Monday requested Israel to help it access Covid-19 vaccine sources, and share the doses it had ordered.
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh made the request to his Israeli counterpart Naftali Bennett during the pair's first telephonic dialogue, adding he wished for Vietnam and Israel to cooperate more in the Covid-19 fight, according to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
A medical worker prepares a Covid-19 vaccine shot in HCMC, June 21, 2021.
As the pandemic continues to progress around the world, Chinh wanted the two countries to cooperate on vaccine research and development, as well as for other treatments. Israel should prioritize supporting Vietnam to gain access to Covid-19 vaccines and drugs as soon as possible through all means possible, including sharing the vaccine doses Israel had already ordered from AstraZeneca and Moderna.
In response, Bennett said he agreed with Chinh's proposals and requested the two countries' relevant authorities soon discuss the topics further, especially cooperation regarding Covid-19 vaccines, which would help deepen relations between the two nations.
Bennett praised Vietnam's achievements in the Covid-19 fight as well as its socio-economic development and foreign relations.
Both PMs agreed to cooperate to make Vietnam and Israeli relations become more practical and effective through boosting negotiations and signing free trade agreements, while aiming for higher investment and bilateral trade turnover goals post-pandemic.
They also invited each other for official visits for the upcoming 30-year anniversary of the two countries establishing diplomatic relations (1993-2023).
Around 60 percent of Israel's 9.3 million population have received at least one shot of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer/BioNTech, prompting a dramatic decrease in the number of daily cases in June to single digits, Reuters reported.
But as the government relaxed social distancing measures and mask requirements, the Delta variant also began to spread globally. The variant's higher transmissibility is thought to have contributed to a rising number of new cases in Israel in recent days.
Last Sunday, Israel said it would begin to offer a third shot of the Pfizer vaccine to adults with weak immune systems, while still deciding if the booster would be available to the general public.
Vietnam meanwhile has vaccinated over 4 million people with at least one shot of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, with over 280,000 having received two shots.