Adidas & Gap call on US to vaccinate Vietnamese workers as factories shut down

A Vietnamese trade group that represents Adidas, Gap and other major global fashion players has called on the US and Vietnamese governments to help vaccinate workers amid rising Covid cases in the region.

The Southeast Asian country’s vital garment industry has been hit badly by the pandemic in recent weeks, with Adidas and rival Nike having to halt supply after a spike in cases.

The American Apparel & Footwear Association asked US president Joe Biden to deliver more vaccines to Vietnam, which produced a massive 50 per cent of Nike’s branded footwear imports last year.

The body also called on Hanoi to prioritise jabs for garment and footwear sectors which have been hit badly by Covid cases.

The Vietnamese government has reacted to supply chain disruptions at electronics manufacturers by ordering staff to sleep at work in order to stay open.

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However apparel manufacturers are unable to afford to follow suit due to lower margins despite Vietnam being the second-biggest source of clothing and shoe exports to the U.S., after China.

The Southeast Asian country has the lowest vaccine rate in the region and has put its military and health care workers as its first priority for jabs.

“Tangible expressions of support by the Vietnamese government for the workers in this industry, which is so important for both our countries, helps us make the case in the United States for rapid relief,” The American Apparel & Footwear Association chief executive Steve Lamar said.

“The success of our industry is directly dependent on the health, literally, of your industry.”

Vietnam had initially handled the pandemic well, seeing low number of cases however a resurgence in the virus in the region has seen cases surpass 100,000.

The high number of cases threaten global fashion players such as Nike and Adidas where the former has 200 vendors in the country.

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