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2021/151 “Restoring Public Trust in Vietnam’s Pandemic Response: A Bumpy Road Ahead” by Dien Nguyen An Luong

A woman walks past a billboard with information on preventing the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus in Hanoi, taken on 19 October 2021. Photo: Nhac NGUYEN, AFP.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

  • The worst wave of Covid-19 infections to hit Vietnam since late April has threatened to chip away at the hard-earned public trust the government was able to engender last year. That is a major concern for a regime that relies on public support and patriotic nationalism to boost its legitimacy.
  • As Vietnam’s pandemic response plunged from shining example to cautionary tale, officials experienced public backlash for resting on their laurels, chief among which was their perceived over-confidence in pursuing a strategy of containment over vaccination to suppress the spread of the coronavirus.
  • Findings from an analysis of public responses in cyberspace showed that public criticism of the government’s pandemic response has generally dwarfed public support, with the gap widening significantly in August and September 2021, when Covid-19 caseloads and deaths peaked.
  • The government has attempted to win back public trust through three key efforts: its vaccine rollout, its provision of social safety nets and its public messaging. Even though Vietnam’s vaccine rollout started slowly, it is the only area where the public has expressed more sympathy and support for the government. In contrast, the government drew most public ire for its social safety nets.

* Dien Nguyen An Luong is Visiting Fellow with the Media, Technology and Society Programme at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute. A journalist with significant experience as managing editor at Vietnam’s top newsrooms, his work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian, South China Morning Post, and other publications. The author would like to thank Ms Lee Sue-Ann and Dr Le Hong Hiep for their constructive comments and suggestions.

ISEAS Perspective 2021/151, 18 November 2021

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INTRODUCTION

On the night of 30 September 2021, right after Ho Chi Minh City relaxed its pandemic lockdowns, thousands of migrant workers fled the economic hub in droves. The city had been the epicentre of Vietnam’s most severe coronavirus outbreak and the exodus took place against the backdrop of the authorities urging the workers to stay put while promising to find jobs for them.[1] Earlier in late August, when the Ho Chi Minh City administration announced plans to bar residents from leaving their homes and reassured them that the food supply would be sufficient, the public did not appear to buy into it. Panic buying ensued, and endless queues of people formed at supermarkets and food items flew off the shelves.[2] These were instances of public skepticism about the government’s pandemic messaging.

They stood in stark contrast to the exceptional public support and compliance the government had enjoyed in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak last year.[3] According to the Covid-19 behaviour tracker compiled by YouGov, a British data analytics firm, and Imperial College London, nearly 97 per cent of Vietnamese polled between May and July of 2020 said the government was handling the crisis “very” or “somewhat” well.[4] However, since the worst wave of Covid-19 infections hit Vietnam in April 2021, public confidence in the government has dropped. Latest data from the same YouGov survey found that by early May 2021, about 83 per cent of Vietnamese polled said they trusted the government’s pandemic handling, a decrease of 14 percentage points. While this figure was still well above that of comparable data in Southeast Asia, it marked a 10-month low in Vietnam.

This paper addresses these following questions: How much of a bearing has the latest outbreak had on public trust in Vietnam’s Covid handling? How have Vietnamese authorities addressed recent public grievances? What observations can we make of the Vietnamese government’s efforts to reverse waning public confidence in its pandemic response?

WHAT CHIPS AWAY AT PUBLIC CONFIDENCE?

Until late April 2021, Vietnam had maintained one of the world’s lowest coronavirus infection rates, having logged fewer than 3,000 cases and suffering just 35 deaths.[5] But that has since skyrocketed to over one million cases and around 23,200 deaths as of this writing.[6] Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s economic hub, accounted for half of the infections and 80 per cent of fatalities in the country.[7]

Vietnam’s pandemic response plunged from being a shining example to being a cautionary tale. Like several other countries that have become a victim of their own success, Vietnam was facing a triple threat: It reined in the pandemic so well that it had little natural immunity;[8] its access to vaccines was limited, for various reasons;[9] and, it was besieged by the deadlier and more transmissible Delta variant.[10]

There were several factors that were beyond the government’s control. Chief among them: Rich countries were hoarding vaccines.[11] India, a major vaccine maker, stopped exports in March to tackle its own Covid-19 crisis.[12] In Southeast Asia, Vietnam had expressed no interest in purchasing Chinese vaccines until June.[13] Unlike wealthier countries, Vietnam was short of the money or negotiating muscle when working with vaccine companies to ensure promised deals would be kept fast enough.[14]

Vietnamese officials also drew public criticism for resting on their laurels. In November 2020, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, then head of the Covid-19 task force, said that the country would stick to its strategy of containing the virus rather than jostle for supplies of vaccines that could turn out to be “financially risky.”[15] The authorities may have had high hopes in Vietnam’s four homegrown shots carried out in a bid to avert reliance on imported vaccines and to bolster the country’s international credentials.[16] Several critics pointed out that Vietnam’s leaders had squandered several months on the political transition instead of hammering out a feasible vaccine strategy.[17]

It was actually not until June that Vietnam expedited efforts to secure foreign vaccines, a belated move that placed it far back in the queue.[18] The vaccine shortages compelled the authorities to rely on lockdowns to suppress the spread of the virus. In July, authorities started imposing strict pandemic curbs, particularly in Ho Chi Minh City. Protracted lockdowns, however, have exacted a heavy economic and mental toll on the public, leaving tens of thousands jobless and hungry.[19] In late September, Vietnam’s gross domestic product plummeted 6.17 percent on year for the July-September period, the first quarterly decline since 2000.[20]

To gauge public responses in cyberspace, this ISEAS research programme conducted in-depth content analysis of Vietnam’s vaccine rollout, social safety nets and public communications messaging (Appendixes 1,2,3,4) and analysed discussions about them from 1 May 1 to 31 October 2021. The methodology involves gleaning the most significant and distinctive keywords that typified pro-government and anti-government narratives from over a thousand posts and their comments on online forums, Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok. (Facebook and YouTube have remained the leading social media platforms in Vietnam while TikTok is increasingly popular among Generation Z there.) These keywords are subsequently fed into social media listening frameworks to generate granular comparative sentiment analysis graphs, depicting Vietnamese netizens’ responses to the various aspects of the government’s pandemic management.

PUBLIC SENTIMENT ON THE GOVERNMENTS HANDLING OF THE PANDEMIC

Overall, public criticism dwarfed public support during the corresponding period. The gap widened significantly in August and September, when Covid caseloads and deaths peaked (Figure 1). That was the period of drawn-out lockdowns. In September, Ho Chi Minh City recorded one of the highest death rates in Southeast Asia.[21]

As Figure 1 shows, public support peaked on June 4, when the dominant narrative of the supportive camp focused on expressing confidence that Vietnam would be able to beat the latest wave and achieve its dual goal of pandemic control and economic growth.[22] But interestingly, an almost equal level of public criticism was also registered a day earlier. Internet users lamented that the authorities should have done more to prevent a surge by curtailing travel during the long holidays in late April and early May, when infections began edging up.[23] Criticism peaked on September 8 over the perceived government’s incompetency in handling the pandemic that led to surging numbers, hospital overload and mass unemployment. Public criticism has been on the downward trend since Vietnam partially reopened in October.

Public sentiments online in both camps each revolved around the following key messages:

Public SupportPublic Criticism
Given its past success and the national solidarity, Vietnam will soon beat the latest wave of Covid-19 infections.  

The quiet sacrifice of frontline workers, doctors and healthcare staff in particular, in the fight against the pandemic is immeasurable.  

The government has left no stone unturned to contain the latest wave.
In suppressing the chain of transmission, the Vietnamese government should not have prized the containment strategy over securing vaccine supplies.  

The “no-one-is-left-behind” pledge by the authorities is ringing hollow.  

Last year, the government was transparent on the number of Covid caseloads and deaths as well as its ability to deliver on the lockdown promises. That was no longer the case during this latest wave.  

PUBLIC SENTIMENTS ON SPECIFIC ASPECTS OF VIETNAM’S PANDEMIC RESPONES

This section sheds light on how the public reacted to three aspects of the Vietnamese government’s pandemic response, namely vaccine rollout, social safety nets and public messaging.

Vaccine rollout

Despite the slowness of Vietnam’s vaccine rollout, online criticism of the government’s handling of this issue was surprisingly low. Public support reached its peak early on June 4, with the dominant narratives centering on the strong willingness of Vietnamese to get a vaccine shot in order for Vietnam to achieve herd immunity as soon as possible. The late May–early June period was also when the government launched a fund to secure much-needed doses of coronavirus vaccines.[24] The public heeded the call, and donations began pouring in.[25]

Significantly, the strong levels of public support do not appear to have been strongly amplified by the possible involvement of pro-government cyber troops and public opinion shapers.[26] Figures 2 and 2B show comparative charts for levels of public support of Vietnam’s vaccine rollout, and when data from pro-government Facebook pages (see Appendix 5) were included and when they were excluded. The overall result was more or less the same; the levels of public support were only marginally lower when data from pro-government Facebook pages were excluded (Figure 2B). This strongly suggests that public support of the government’s vaccine rollout was likely organic and not significantly orchestrated.

Also of interest are the trends in public sentiments towards Vietnam’s decision to procure Chinese vaccines. In July, the Ministry of Health licensed Van Thinh Phat, a local company, to import five million doses of Sinopharm’s Vero Cell vaccines to address Vietnam’s acute vaccine shortfall.[27] The move initially triggered some public resistance both on social media and in real life.[28] As seen in Figure 2, there were sharp spikes in public criticism between late July and late August, with the dominant narratives revolving around the rejection of Chinese vaccines. But between late August and September, these had dropped significantly, incidentally coinciding with surging cases across southern Vietnam and the growing salience of the government’s narrative that “the best vaccine is the first one you have.”

That message apparently resonated with the public in a country where, according to another YouGov survey[29], 89 per cent of Vietnamese polled between July and September said they would be willing to take a Covid-19 shot. It was during this period that public sentiments online started to shift to this narrative: getting a Covid shot in order to go back to normal life is preferable to getting stuck in lockdown indefinitely. Chinese jabs have since been administered on a voluntary basis across southern Vietnam without any major hiccups. Vietnam’s recent go-ahead for the purchase of another 20 million doses of Vero Cell shots did not trigger any major backlash in the online sphere.[30]

Social safety nets

The Vietnamese government attracted more – if not most – public criticism over support for its Covid-19 social safety nets (Figure 3). Internet users on the supportive and critical camps coalesced around a “master narrative”, each consisting of three key messages:

Public SupportPublic Criticism
We’re all in this together so instead of venting, let’s join hands to help those who are more vulnerable.  

The government will not leave the people in the lurch during the pandemic.  

The deployment of soldiers to deliver food and aid to households is a necessary and timely move.    
The authorities, especially those at local levels, have delivered poorly on their financial aid pledges.  

Hunger and unemployment will kill people before Covid does.  

This latest wave of infections has laid bare the incompetence of the political apparatus.    

On the issue of the Vietnamese government’s rollout of social safety nets, during the early stage of the latest wave (between early May and mid July), public support was equal to or even greater than critical voices. Public support was at its highest on July 2, when online discussion zeroed in on the call to join hands with the government to push back the coronavirus. But public criticism started to eclipse public support in early August; the sharpest spike occurred from later that month to mid-September. Public criticism peaked on September 8, when Internet users vented their grievances mostly against unemployment and bankruptcy. During the late August-mid September period, social media was also inundated with complaints about how hospitals and quarantine centres came under great pressure and how the authorities were slow to respond to calls for help.[31]

Public grievances stemmed largely from the slow disbursement of a government stimulus package totalling VND26 trillion (US$1.1 billion) designed to support informal workers and poor households.[32] At live broadcasts of questions from the public to Ho Chi Minh City officials, nerves were evidently on edge as disgruntled citizens repeatedly clamoured for their overdue financial aids.[33] A survey in August by VnExpress, which brands itself as “the most read online Vietnamese newspaper”, found that of around 69,000 people polled, 62 per cent said they lost their jobs because of the pandemic; many of them became unemployed for more than six months.[34]

The deployment of soldiers to enforce a stricter lockdown in Ho Chi Minh City in late August also failed to allay public worries.[35] The mainstream media ramped up the message that the core task of the troops, besides patrolling the streets or standing guard at posts, was to deliver food and aid to households.[36] But with Ho Chi Minh City already crippled by a shortage of delivery workers, the troops were soon snowed under with orders of essential goods, food in particular.[37] A looming food delivery crisis unnerved the public and caused a relentless furore online, forcing the authorities to allow professional shippers back to the delivery rollout just several days after having boots on the ground.[38]

The government dialed up its “no-one-is-left-behind” rhetoric particularly between late August and mid-September (Chart 1). But as Figure 3 shows, that was also the peak time when scores of Internet users lamented that they were waiting in vain for official support.

Public messaging

This is also an area where the government fell short of public expectations, drawing more criticism than support (Figure 4). The “master narrative” circulated by Internet users in both camps each consisted of three key messages:

Public SupportPublic Criticism
Government leaders, the prime minister in particular, have made great outreach efforts to allay public concern about the pandemic.

Contact-tracing apps are much needed to help break the chain of transmission.

Media stories about national solidarity and philanthropy are much needed during these trying times.    
•   In getting their messages across, the authorities failed to be first, right and credible. Mixed messaging, delays and confusion have been colouring people’s daily life during the pandemic.
•   The rollout of a raft of contact-tracing apps without integrating their databases only created myriad hassles for their users.
•   The implementation of central guidelines on pandemic controls has been subject to conflicting interpretations and dogged by red tape across provinces.  

Similar to the Covid social safety nets, the government, as based on Figure 4, enjoyed public support for its messaging during the early stage of the latest outbreak from early May until mid-July. But there was a marked crossover in public sentiments around early August, when public criticism started to dwarf public support. The sharpest spike in public criticism occurred from late August to late September. The public was growing increasingly skeptical of what it perceived to be a sanitised narrative of the crisis. As cases continued surging, the number of Covid deaths rarely made headlines in mainstream media until October. When news outlets kept a tally of daily infections, the number of deaths was placed at the bottom. In an attempt to inject “positive energy” into the public discourse, state-controlled media was ordered to publish feel-good stories related to the pandemic. Against that backdrop, chat groups and social media buzzed with clips and posts that claimed to reveal how the plan to deal with the pandemic was unraveling.

The lack of transparency, consistency and credibility in communication was another major source of public frustration. When it came to lifting pandemic curbs, public hopes had been dashed too many times as the authorities kept backpedaling on their oft-repeated “the-new-normal” promises (Chart 2).[39]

As Figure 4 shows, the public was most dismal on September 30, one day ahead of the reopening phase. The complaints centred around a lack of a well-coordinated national effort to articulate and enforce the government strategy on living with Covid-19[40] and the concern about data privacy in a slew of contact-tracing apps.[41] Public criticism declined, however, after the country reopened in October. Since then, public support has also gained momentum and hit its peak on October 19, when Internet users acknowledged that they had started to receive more “useful information” on how to go about their daily lives in the reopening phase.

CRUNCH TIME

Judging by public sentiments online, even though the vaccine rollout went off to a slow start, it has been the only area where the public has expressed more sympathy for the authorities than criticism. The government drew most public ire for its Covid social safety nets.Unlike during previous waves, the government’s public communications have also fallen short of expectations this time around.

It was oversimplistic at best for Western media to accredit Vietnam’s relative pandemic success last year squarely to its authoritarian rule and the “draconian” measures designed to rein in the coronavirus.[42] In fact, it was the uncharacteristically transparent governance and effective messaging [43] that earned the public’s approval and proved instrumental to securing their compliance.

But as our analysis has showed, the levels of public support for the government’s pandemic response have generally plummeted. For the Vietnamese government, vaccination rollout aside, how to fortify the social safety nets and to fine-tune its public messaging will remain the top challenges in regaining public trust.

APPENDIX 1. Public Sentiments Online on Vietnam’s Pandemic Response

Keywords on Public SupportKeywords on Public Criticism
Việt Nam cố lên (Vietnam fighting)
áo trắng đáng yêu (lovable white coat) Việt Nam vô địch (Vietnam the champion)
miền nam cố lên (Southern Vietnam fighting)
Việt Nam chiến thắng đại dịch (Vietnam beats the pandemic)
chúng ta đẩy lùi covid (We push back Covid-19)
lực lượng tuyến đầu không mệt mỏi (untiring frontline forces)
cám ơn chiến sĩ (thank you, soldiers)
anh hùng áo trắng (white coat heroes)
chúng ta là Việt Nam (We are Vietnam)
anh chị em tuyến đầu (frontline brothers and sisters)
nhìn thương muốn khóc (crying seeking frontline forces working so hard)
yên tâm cách ly (rest assured to quarantine)
có trách nhiệm với xã hội (socially responsible)
tội nghiệp cảnh sát không được về nhà (feel bad for the police officers who cannot go home)
thương cán bộ (feel bad for the officers)
thương hậu phương (appreciate logistic forces)
tự hào tiêm vaccine trung quốc (proud of getting Chinese vaccines)
tiêm đã lắm (vaccination is great)
hiểu biết thì tiêm vaccine trung quốc (getting Chinese vaccines is wise)
tiêm dịch vụ vài trăm ngàn cũng tiêm (happy to pay for serviced vaccination)
mong triển khai nhanh (look forward to fast vaccination)
nhanh lên nhé dân cố chờ (please speed up, the people are waiting)
VN không bỏ rơi một ai (Vietnam does not leave anyone behind)
may mắn sinh ra ở Việt Nam (blessed to be born in Vietnam)
tiêm mũi 1 tiếp mới tiêm mũi 2 nhanh (second shot will soon follow first shot)
tiêm không cần giấy mời (getting vaccinated without any invite)
tiêm gấp để hạn chế lây nhiễm (speed up the vaccination to limit transmission)
nhìn bác Đam bạc tóc thương quá (feel bad seeing Mr. Dam’s greying hair)
một mình bác sao làm được (Mr. Dam alone cannot do anything)
ủng hộ lời kêu gọi chính phủ (support the government’s call)
cám ơn lãnh đạo gần dân (appreciate the government for being sympathetic to the public)
được 1.200k (get 1.200k) nhận gạo thức ăn thịt mì (receive rice, food, mean and bread)
nhân được 800k (get 800k)
nhâận được rồi cám ơn chính phủ (received, grateful to the government)
chính phủ gồng mình vắt óc (the government works really hard)
chống dịch hiệu quả (effective pandemic fighting)
chính sách có 100% (the policy delivers 100%)
phải tin vào lãnh đạo (must have faith in the leaders)
bác Chính xuống làm việc (Prime Minister Chính pays a site visit)
5 ngày phát gạo 1 lần (give away the rice once in five days)
nhà nước đâu bỏ dân (the state doesn’t abandon the people)
hy sinh lợi ích nhỏ vì cộng đồng (sacrifice small personal interests for public interests)
đăng ký là tuần sau được nhận (register and receive financial aids next week)
nhiều người chửi nhà nước dữ quá (too many people criticize the government)
nặng tình nghĩa (compassionate)
quân đội cho quà (the troops deliver gifts)
biết cảm ơn và trân trọng (appreciated and grateful)
tổ trưởng tốt dân được hưởng (a good neighborhood chief benefits the community)
nhân dân đồng hành cùng chính quyền (the people rally behind the government)
chỉ có chính phủ Việt Nam mới cứu được dân (only the Vietnamese government can save the people)
thủ tướng tuyệt vời đi vào lòng dân (kudos to the prime minister for wining public hearts and minds)
nhà nước sao kèm hết từng người được (the state cannot cater to every single person)
Quyết định thủ tướng tuyệt vời (a wonderful decision by the prime minister)
ủng hộ thống nhất app (support the integration of contact-tracing apps) lãnh
đạo ngày càng dùng công nghệ (leaders go increasingly tech-savvy)
quyết định thủ tướng đúng đắn (a right decision by the prime minster)
tổ chống dịch + vất vả (laborious pandemic task force)
cám ơn chính phủ VN (thank you, the Vietnamese government)
bệnh viện dã chiến + giải thể (disband makeshift hospitals)
cảm ơn y bác sĩ (thank you, doctors and nurses)
bệnh viện + ế (hospitals with few patients)
chính phủ ưu tiên vaccine (the government prioritizes the vaccination drive)
mùa dịch ai cũng khó khăn riêng (everyone has their own troubles during the pandemic)
mong lực lượng chi viện sớm thất nghiệp (wishing for the recruitments to be disbanded soon)
tuyến đầu quá mệt mỏi (frontline forces are exhausted)
tiêm vaccine nhiều (ramp-up vaccinations)
phường chu đáo (caring ward officials)
phường nhắn tin gọi điện liên tục (ward officials keep texting and calling)
họ kêu dân đi tiêm quá trời (officials urge the people to get vaccinated)
mũi 2 vero cell chích dễ (easy to get the 2nd shot of Vero cell)
tự hào công dân Việt Nam (proud to be a Vietnamese citizen)
vì dân vì nước (for the people, for the country)
phạt nặng người thiếu ý thức (throw the book at those who are not compliant)
nên nhốt lại (lock them up) cám ơn phó thủ tướng (thank you, deputy prime minister)
người Việt Nam đoàn kết (the Vietnamese are unified)
có tâm có tầm (visionary) ủng hộ bác Đam (support Mr. Dam)
lương y như từ mẫu (doctors are like mothers)
người dân mang ơn (the people are grateful)
tổng đài rất nhanh (call centers are very responsive)
phải kiểm soát dịch mới mở cửa (only reopen when the pandemic is contained)
yên tâm nhà nước sẽ chăm lo (rest assured that the state will take care of you)
chu đáo và chuyên nghiệp (considerate and professional)
giúp đỡ cưu mang người dân (a helping hand to those in need)
hỗ trợ bà con kịp thời hiệu quả (timely and effective support for the people)
cảm ơn anh em chiến sĩ (thank you, soldiers)
cám ơn ban lãnh đạo các cấp (thank you, leaders at all levels)
đừng nói tỉnh làm khó dễ (don’t blame local leaders)
địa phương phối hợp tốt (local provinces coordinate well)
không ở đừng nói lời cay đắng (don’t badmouth quarantine centers)
Chặt chẽ không biết dịch lây như thế nào (such lockdown efforts will help break the chain of transmission)
nỗ lực của cả tỉnh (efforts of the entire province)
vui vẻ vì thành quả (proud of the accomplishment)
giá như địa phương nào cũng làm căng (if only every province were that strict)
tỉnh nào làm tốt mở cửa sớm (provinces who contain the pandemic well should reopen soon)
HN và TPHCM khó hơn nhiều (Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are in worse situations)
làm tốt không thể không nhắc hà nội (Hanoi has done great)
lãnh đạo tỉnh làm rất quyết liệt (local leaders are very hell-bent on containing the pandemic)
thà chịu đựng 15 ngày (rather under lockdown for 15 days)
không chủ quan (no complacency)
ngoại giao thông minh (smart vaccine diplomacy)
mạnh dạn nhập vaccine Trung Quốc (not balked at importing Chinese vaccines)
cư xử với dân ôn hòa (treat the people kindly)
góp ý phê bình nên nhẹ nhàng (criticism should be constructive)
Quân tử khắt khe với bản than (you should be tough on yourself first)
Mời mấy ông lên làm thủ tướng (dare you to be the prime minister)
Nhà nước gồng mình chống dịch (the government stretches it thin to fight the pandemic)
chuyên gia bới móc chê trách (armchair critics)
Hy vọng vaccine Việt Nam (hope in Vietnamese vaccines)
Chậm nhưng mà chắc (slowly but steadily)
Who chấp nhận thì người dân tiêm (If WHO approves, let the people get the vaccine)
muốn dc tiêm thuốc của VN (want to get Vietnamese vaccines)
Nanocovax number one (Nanocovax is number one)
tin tưởng vn (believe in Vietnam)
sẵn sàng tiêm (willing to get Covid-19 shots)
Cám ơn sự Quan Tâm của Chính phủ (thank you the government for your care and support)
nhiệt tình chuyển lương thực (eagerly deliver food)
TRẬN ĐÁNH CUỐI CÙNG (the last battle)
thủ tướng vất vả (the prime minister is restless)
thủ tướng nói rất hay (the prime minister speaks eloquently)
hơn hẳn thủ tướng trước (the prime minister outshines its predecessor)
cảm phục phó thủ tướng (admire the deputy prime minister)
thủ tướng nghiêm khắc (the prime minister is very tough)
hoan hô thủ tướng (bravo the prime minister)
thủ tướng giỏi quá (the prime minister did great)
tin yêu thủ tướng (believe in the prime minister)
thấu hiểu tâm tư nguyện vọng (understanding the public)
họp trực tuyến rất hay (teleconference is great)
bác chính quyết đoán (Prime Minister Chinh is tenacious)
tự hào Việt Nam (proud Vietnam)
toàn dân quyết tâm chống dịch (the entire society is determined to fight the pandemic)
yêu các chú bộ đội (love the soldiers)
cố lên các chú bộ đội (the soldiers fighting)
Hậu duệ mặt trời phiên bản Việt Nam (Descendants of the Sun, Vietnam version)
Chúc các chiến sĩ khoẻ mạnh (all the best to the soldiers)
y tế Việt Nam AND tuyệt vời (Vietnamese healthcare is wonderful)
Vũ Đức Đam AND người hùng (Vu Duc Dam is a hero)
hy sinh thầm lặng (quiet sacrifice)
bộ đội đi chợ hộ (the troops go to buy food for the people)
trách nhiệm của người lính (the responsibility of the soldiers)
thương các chiến sĩ (love the soldiers)
chiến sĩ vất vả (the soldiers are hardworking)
quân đội chống dịch AND tổ quốc trong tim (the troops fight the pandemic and the fatherland is in the heart)
cho ăn lễ giờ ra nông nỗi (pay the price for the long holiday)
không làm đúng dân chửi (incur the public wrath for failing to do their job properly)
làm như lo cho dân lắm (as if they cared much about the people)
chỉ thấy toàn thị uy (the officials just show off)
không a dua theo đám đông là bị quy chụp (get pigeonholed for not following the pack)
còn gì độc lập tự do (independence freedom no more)
chính quyền sợ dân túng làm loạn (the government worries that desperate people will rise)
ra quân để phạt người dân (deploy the fore just to fine people)
đủ ăn đủ uống không ai ra đường (who cares to go out if they have enough food)
sao không ra giữ biển đảo (why not send the troops to protect the islands?)
toàn màu mè (just grandstanding)
khí thế chứ dân chết đói (the people are starving despite the official grandstanding)
dân đang đói sao không chở gạo cho dân (why not transport the rice to the starving people)
nổ quá trời mà không ra vaccine (all talk, no vaccine)
chích vaccine chen chúc (jostle to get vaccinated)
thua từ chính quyền đến người dân (a failure from top to bottom)
không phân chia vùng chích (no desgination of vaccinated areas)
tiêm lây chéo (cross-infections because of vaccinations)
chính quyền làm ăn tệ (the authorities do a bad job)
tổ chức quản lý yếu kém (poor governance)
cái gì cũng tại dân (blame the people for everything)
quá nhiều bất cập (too much red tape) không thông báo rõ rang (lack of information)
yếu kém từ khâu tổ chức (poorly organized)
đông không dám vô tiêm (balked at overcrowded vaccination sites)
vaccine ông ngoại (nepotism vaccine)
cán bộ không tiêm loại nào tôi không tiêm loại đó ( I won’t get the vaccines the officials refuse)
không có xu nào (not a penny)
không ai hỗ trợ (no official support)
làm để đối phó (half-baked measure)
nhận trên tiktok (receive the aid on TikTok)
nhận trên facebook (receive the aid on Facebook)
nhận trên tv (receive the aid on TV)
lấy được tiền trời sập (the sky would collapse if I could receive the aid)
thất nghiệp x tháng rồi (unemployed for xxx months)
chính phủ sao kê tiền hỗ trợ (demand an accounting of the government aid package)
thủ tướng ngồi trong máy lạnh (the prime minister only sits in air-conditioned room)
Chỉ thị 16 thảm bại kinh tế (Directive 16 is an economic debacle)
không có thống nhất giữa tỉnh (no consistency among provinces)
63 khu tự trị (63 self-governed zones)
chính phủ xem lại cách làm việc (the government needs to self-correct its governance)
dân chết đói vì không đi làm (the people starve to death because of unemployement)
trên nói nghe để đó (government directions fall on deaf ears)
chính quyền phải nói thật với người dân (the authorities need to be transparent with the people)
bình mới rượu cũ (new bottle old wine)
không coi chính phủ ra gì (disdain the government)
giãn cách ngân hàng vẫn lấy lãi (still collect bank interests during lockdown)
mã ứng dụng lỗi (faulty QR code)
nhiều app quá (too many contact-tracing apps)
rủi ro lộ thông tin cá nhân (risk of personal data leak)
hỗ trợ không thấy đâu (no sight of financial aid packages)
không nhắc lực lượng tuyến đầu (no sight of frontline forces)
không thấy giúp cho người ở trọ (no support for tenants)
chỉ giúp người có hộ khẩu (support for those with family registers only)
sao số ca tăng hoài (why do caseloads keep rising)
thống kê có trục trặc (problematic statistics)
càng phong tỏa càng nhiều (the more lockdowns, the more caseloads)
giấu thông tin (information cover-up)
bao nhiêu chỉ thị 16 (too many directives)
khi nào hết dịch (when will the pandemic end?)
đi chích vaccine về bị (get infected after vaccination)
hô hào thì giỏi (no action, talk only) chưa được tiêm vaccine (not vaccinated yet)
không thấy tiêm mũi 2 (not get 2nd shot yet)
học online nguy hiểm (online learning is dangerous)
covid chưa chết nhưng đói thì chết (hunger will kill people before covid does)
miền tây + khổ chồng khổ (no end in sight in misery for Mekong Delta people)
con số không còn giá trị (the statistics has no value)
không có gói hỗ trợ doanh nghiệp tư nhân (no aid package for private businesses)
doanh nghiệp + đóng băng 2 năm (businesses have been frozen for two years)
tự kiếm kế sinh nhai (fend for themselves) buôn bán ế ẩm (slow business)
giá mặt bằng cao (high rents)
chi phí sao chịu nổi (unbearable costs)
chờ mãi không thấy y tế (waiting in vain for healthcare staff)
không thấy ai tới test (no one comes to do test)
gọi không ai phản hồi (no one returns calls for help)
suốt ngày đếm F0 (keep counting FO cases all day)
vaccine + sợ bị làm khó dễ (vaccination red tape)
người giàu được lãnh người nghèo thì không (financial aids for the rich only)
tổ trưởng kêu đợi (the neighborhood chief asks to wait) mùa covid kiếp sau (wait until the next Covid wave next life to get financial aids)
trợ cấp + hi vọng mong manh (dim hope for financial aids) không có 1 xu (not a penny)
làm ăn rườm rà hơi lâu (drag foot on red tape)
xx tháng không có 1 đồng (many months without a penny)
sót nhiều lắm (left out too many)
báo đài không nói rõ (the media didn’t articulate well) mỗi người nói một kiểu (contradicting messages)
nhà nước thông não cấp dưới giùm (the government needs to rein in local leaders)
tổ trưởng chẳng làm được gì (neighborhood chiefs are hopeless)
app sai không chỉnh sửa (not fixing faulty contact-tracing apps)
test covid là nguồn thu quốc gia (Covid tests contribute to state revenue)
ăn không nổi khô khủng khiếp (the food is too dry to eat)
của nhà nước làm gì mà ngon (cannot expect the food to be good because it’s state sponsored)
không còn lựa chọn (no option) Lãnh đạo nói ai dám chống (who dares to defy official directives)
nếu không hết dịch mời từ chức (please step down if the pandemic is not controlled)
không thấy trợ cấp mà cứ kéo dài (no subsidy despite drawn-out lockdowns)
Người dân không có tiếng nói (the people have no voice)
Mấy chục lần 2 tuần (how many times “two more weeks”?)
nói thì giỏi làm thì dở (no action, talk only)
giả mù giả điếc (turn a blind eye)
tiêm 2 mũi mà vẫn phải cách ly tốn phí (still have to quarantine despite being fully vaccinated)
có dịch là mất quyền công dân (stripped of citizen rights because of the pandemic)
cách ly rồi lây chéo (cross-infections because of quarantine)
thủ tướng yêu cầu nhưng về địa phương lại khác (local leaders contradict the prime minister directive)
cấp cao cần kiểm tra lại (central leaders need to double check their local subordinates)
đừng thấy đỏ mà tưởng là chin (don’t count the chickens before they are hatched)
đánh úp người dân (caught the people off-guard) hứa thật nhiều thất hứa thật nhiều (too much lip service)
bảo fake news hóa ra real (fake news turns out to be real)
siết quá trời siết (too strict lockdowns) làm ơn để shipper chạy liên quận (please let professional shippers deliver across districts)
giá đội trên trời (prices go through the roof)
không có shipper (no shipper)
đặt giá app quá cao (app order is too expensive)
không ai nhận đơn (no one takes orders)
bị hủy đơn (order canceled) ứng dụng quá tệ (contact-tracing apps suck)
dẹp giùm + app (scrap the contact-tracing apps) trung ương không bảo được địa phương (the central leaders unable to rein in local officials)
baất tài của lãnh đạo (incompetent leaders) phép vua thua lệ làng (the mandate of the emperor stops at the village gate)
cắt chức ông Nên ông Mãi (fire the top leaders of Ho Chi Minh City)
tỉnh không cần biết bộ y tế (provinces just disregard Minsitry of Health)
lãnh đạo thành phố quá yếu kém (city leaders are too incompentent)
phong tỏa mãi số ca y chang (never-ending lockdowns but caseloads remain)
đẩy shipper vào nguy hiểm (put shippers in danger)
trạm y tế lưu động không hoạt động (mobile health stations not operate)
có ca nhiễm vẫn nói kiểm soát (too many cases but officials still claim under control)
giấu như mèo giấu cứt (cover up) quốc gia giấy tờ thủ tục (nation of red tape)
cường quốc khai báo y tế (superpower of health declaration)
làm chỉ được khúc đầu (half-baked efforts)
giấy này thẻ kia làm khổ dân (too much red tape take a toll on the people)
chống dịch trên tivi (fight the pandemic on TV)
xử lý thiếu tình người (inhuman handling)
phạt công ty đừng phạt shipper (fine the companies, not shippers)
đi bộ về quê (walk to the hometowns)
phản biện thành phản động (those who criticize the government are deemed reactionaries)
chọt mũi thần tốc (fast swab tests)
trong cái khó ló cái ngu (stupidity knows no border)
làm dân hoang mang (confuse the public) loạn cào cào (too chaotic)
quay dân như chong chóng (leave the people scratching their heads)
baáo chí mỗi người một phách (the media conveys contradicting messages)
không hiểu nổi chính sách (cannot understand the policy)
chừng nào tiêm trẻ em (when will children get vaccinated)
không thể miễn dịch cộng đồng (no herd immunity)
vaccine tốt nhất là vaccine mà lãnh đạo chích (the best vaccines are those the leaders get)
WHO đã ko còn giá trị (WHO is doomed)
không dùng hàng tàu (no Chinese product)
WHO của china (WHO is in China’s bag)
Who bị tàu cộng mua chuộc (WHO is bought by China)
thủ tục hành là chính (red tape)
ko 1 đồng (not a penny)
ko 1 kg gạo (not one kilogram of rice)
xuống âm phủ mới nhận (go to hell to get financial aids)
đừng tin những gì họ nói (don’t believe in what they say)
ăn chặn (siphone off)
Toàn báo cáo (just reports)
người nhà người quen (nepotism)
gói cứu trợ mồm (financial aid pacakges on paper)
ko tới tay dân (did not reach the people)
rớt nhiều vào túi những người ra quyết định (only those who make decisions benefit)
chậm trễ (delay)
ngồi phòng lạnh ra quyết định (decisions made from air-conditioned rooms)
chỉ đạo lúng túng (confusing directives)
chạy theo tình hình (knee jerk)
thủ tướng thôi chức (prime minister, resign)
bó tay lãnh đạo (hopeless leaders)
dân khổ quá rồi (the people are too miserable)
dân chết đói hết rồi (the people are starving)
hết lương thực (run out of food)
lấy gì mà sống (how can I survive)
mệt mỏi lắm rồi (public patience wears thin)
dân còn khổ dài dài (never-ending misery for the people)
dân lãnh hết (the people bear the brunt)
cầm cự không nổi nữa (can’t stand it anymore)
mất việc (unemployed)
phải trả nợ ngân hàng (bank debt)
phải trả lãi ngân hang (bank interests)
phá sản (bankruptcy)
chủ quan (complacency)
ngạo nghễ (too much pride)
lúng túng (bungling)
lơ là (lack of vigilance) y
ếu kém (incompetence) tốn kém (waste)
luẩn quẩn (vicious cycle)
không hiệu quả (inefficient)
không ai chống dịch giống Việt Nam (no country controls the pandemic like Vietnam)
phản khoa học (unscientific)
phong toả cực đoan (extreme lockdowns)
hết chỉ thị này đến chỉ thị khác (directive after directive)
số ca vẫn tang (caseloads keep rising)
số ca không giảm (no letup of cases)
hết giường bệnh (run out of hospital beds)
bệnh viện không nhận (hospitals refuse to admit)
trợ cấp trên mạng (financial aids online)
mị dân (demagogic)
diễn sâu (showmanship)
_ giao hàng chậm (slow delivery)
thua xa shipper công nghệ (the soldiers are way behind professional shippers)
quá tải (overload)
không chịu rút kinh nghiệm (fail to draw experience)
quá muộn rồi (too late)
tin đồn vài ngày nữa thành sự thật (rumors become true after several days)
không tiêm vaccine Trung Quốc (say no to Chinese vaccines)
dân chết đói hết rồi (the people were starved to death already)  

APPENDIX 2. Public Sentiments Online on Vietnam’s Vaccine Rollout

Keywords on Public SupportKeywords on Public Criticism
tự hào tiêm vaccine trung quốc (proud)  
tiêm đã lắm (vaccination is great)
hiểu biết thì tiêm vaccine trung quốc (getting Chinese vaccines is wise)  
tiêm dịch vụ vài trăm ngàn cũng tiêm (happy to pay for serviced vaccination)  
mong triển khai nhanh (look forward to ramped-up vaccination
nhanh lên nhé dân cố chờ (please speed up the vaccination as the people are waiting)  
may mắn sinh ra ở Việt Nam (blessed to be born in Vietnam)
tiêm mũi 1 tiếp mới tiêm mũi 2 nhanh (the 2nd shot will soon follow the first one)  
tiêm không cần giấy mời (getting vaccinated without any invite)
tiêm gấp để hạn chế lây nhiễm (getting vaccinated urgently to limit infections)  
chính phủ ưu tiên vaccine (the government prioritises vaccination)  
tiêm vaccine nhiều (ample vaccine supplies)  
họ kêu dân đi tiêm quá trời (the officials repeatedly urge the people to get vaccinated)
mũi 2 vero cell chích dễ (easy to get the 2nd Vero Cellshot)  
mạnh dạn nhập vaccine Trung Quốc (not balked at importing Chinese vaccines)  
Hy vọng vaccine Việt Nam (high hopes in Vietnamese vaccines)  
Chậm nhưng mà chắc (slowly but steadily)  
Who chấp nhận thì người dân tiêm ((If WHO approves, let the people get the vaccine)  
muốn dc tiêm thuốc của VN (wish to get Vietnamese vaccines)  
Nanocovax number one  sẵn sàng tiêm (willing to get Covid vaccine)  
an toàn và hiệu quả (safe and effective)  
make in VIETNAM
make in Vietnam  
“tiêm ngay khi còn có thể” (get the vaccines when possible)
“tiêm bất cứ loại vaccine nào” (get any vaccine)
“làm tốt chiến lược ngoại giao vaccine” (Vietnam’s vaccine diplomacy goes well)
“kén cá chọn canh” (picky)
“phân biệt vùng miền” (regionalism) “vaccine make in Vietnam” “vaccine tự lực cánh sinh” (self-reliant vaccine)
“không phân biệt đối xử” (no vaccine discrimination)
“chia sẻ vaccine” (vaccine sharing)  
dân chết hết mới xong thử nghiệm nanocovax (the nanocovax experiment only stops when the people die)
nổ quá trời mà không ra vaccine (only hollow promises on vaccines)
chích vaccine chen chúc (jostle to get vaccinated)
không phân chia vùng chích (no vaccination zoning)
tiêm lây chéo (cross infections because of vaccination)
chính quyền làm ăn tệ (the authorities did a bad job)
vô tổ chức (disorganized)
tổ chức quản lý yếu kém (poor governance and management)
cái gì cũng tại dân (blame the people for everything)
quá nhiều bất cập (too many missteps)
sao không mời tiêm qua tổng đài (why not send vaccination notifications via call services?)
TPHCM tổ chức chán (HCMC poorly organized vaccination)
muốn tiêm mà không được (want to get vaccinated but to no avail)
không thông báo rõ ràng (no clear notice)
đông không dám vô tiêm (afraid of entering crowded vaccination sites)
vaccine ông ngoại (nepotism vaccine)
cán bộ không tiêm loại nào tôi không tiêm loại đó (I don’t the vaccines that officials refuse)
đi chích vaccine về bị (infection after vaccination)
không thấy tiêm mũi 2 (no words on 2nd shot)
vaccine + sợ bị làm khó dễ (vaccine red tape)
chừng nào tiêm trẻ em (when will children get vaccinated)
vùng sâu vùng xa (vaccine for remote areas)
không thể miễn dịch cộng đồng (unable to achieve herd immunity)
vaccine tốt nhất là vaccine mà lãnh đạo chích (the best vaccines are ones that the leaders get)
chờ tiêm vaccine xịn (wait for good vaccines)
không tiêm vaccine Trung Quốc (no Chinese vaccines)
không tiêm/từ chối tiêm Vero Cell (say no to Vero Cell)

APPENDIX 3. Public Sentiments Online on Vietnam’s Covid Social Safety Nets

Keywords on Public SupportKeywords on Public Criticism
được 1.200k (get 1.200k)
nhận gạo thức ăn thịt mì (receive rice, food, mean and bread)
nhân được 800k (get 800k)
nhận được rồi cám ơn chính phủ (received, grateful to the government)
chính sách có 100% (the policy delivers 100%)
Theo tổ trưởng nhận 1 củ rưỡi (follow the neighborhood chief to receive VND1.5 million)
5 ngày phát gạo 1 lần (give away the rice once in five days)
nhà nước đâu bỏ dân (the state doesn’t abandon the people)
hi sinh lợi ích nhỏ vì cộng đồng (sacrifice small personal interests for public interests)
ít nhưng vài ngày lại có (meager but still get it after several days)
đăng ký là tuần sau được nhận (register and receive financial aids next week)
quân đội cho quà (the troops deliver gifts)
yên tâm nhà nước sẽ chăm lo rest assured that the state will take care of you)
nhiệt tình chuyển lương thực (eagerly deliver food)
nhân dân ủng hộ (the people support) đặt niềm tin (place trust in the government)
nói ít làm nhiều (actions, not words, matter)
cảm ơn các chú bộ đội (thank you, soldiers)
tự hào VN (proud Vietnam)
chung tay (join hands)
Việt Nam cố lên (Vietnam fighting)
tin tưởng Đảng (trust the Communist Party)
cảm ơn Đảng và nhà nước (thank you the party and the state)
nhờ ơn chính phủ (thank you the government)
Đảng chỉ đường dẫn lối (the Communist Party leads the way)
trên dưới đồng long (unanimous support)
y tế Việt Nam AND tuyệt vời (Vietnam’s healthcare is superb)
cảm ơn y bác sĩ (thank you doctors)
yêu các chú bộ đội (love the soldiers)  
khí thế chứ dân chết đói (despite the grandstanding, the people are starving)
xe thùng sao không chở thực phẩm cho dân (those trucks cannot transport food)  
dân đang đói sao không chở gạo cho dân (why not transport rice for starving people0
không có xu nào (not a penny)  không ai hỗ trợ (no support)  
báo cáo chính quyền là em hết tiền (dear the authorities, I’m broke)  
nhận trên tiktok (receive aids on TikTok)
nhận trên facebook (receive aids on Facebook)  
nhận trên tv (receive aids on TV)  
lấy được tiền trời sập (if I could get aids, the sky would collapse)  
thất nghiệp x tháng rồi (unemployed for many months)  
Chỉ thị 16 thảm bại kinh tế (Directive 16 is an economic debacle)  
giãn cách ngân hàng vẫn lấy lãi (still collect bank interests under lockdown)  
hỗ trợ không thấy đâu (financial aids are nowhere to be found)  
không thấy giúp cho người ở trọ (no support for tenants)  
chỉ giúp người có hộ khẩu (support for those with family registers only)  
covid chưa chết nhưng đói thì chết (hunger will kill people before Covid does0 
miền tây + khổ chồng khổ (never-ending misery for Mekong delta people)  
(no aid package for private businesses)
doanh nghiệp + đóng băng 2 năm (businesses have been frozen for two years)
tự kiếm kế sinh nhai (fend for themselves)
buôn bán ế ẩm (slow business)
giá mặt bằng cao (high rents) chi phí sao chịu nổi (unbearable costs)    
người giàu được lãnh người nghèo thì không (financial aids for the rich only)
tổ trưởng kêu đợi (the neighborhood chief asks to wait)
mùa covid kiếp sau (wait until the next Covid wave next life to get financial aids)
trợ cấp + hi vọng mong manh (dim hope for financial aids)
không có 1 xu (not a penny)
làm ăn rườm rà hơi lâu (drag foot on red tape)
xx tháng không có 1 đồng (many months without a penny)
sót nhiều lắm (left out too many)
ăn không nổi khô khủng khiếp (the food is too dry to eat)
của nhà nước làm gì mà ngon (cannot expect the food to be good because it’s state sponsored)
không còn lựa chọn (no option)
không thấy trợ cấp mà cứ kéo dài (no subsidy despite drawn-out lockdowns)
Người dân không có tiếng nói (the people have no voice)
siết quá trời siết (too strict lockdowns)
làm ơn để shipper chạy liên quận (please let professional shippers deliver across districts)
giá đội trên trời (prices go through the roof)
không có shipper (no shipper)
đặt giá app quá cao (app order is too expensive)
không ai nhận đơn (no one takes orders) bị hủy đơn (order canceled)
đẩy shipper vào nguy hiểm (put shippers in danger)
trạm y tế lưu động không hoạt động (mobile health stations not operate)
xử lý thiếu tình người (inhuman handling)
phạt công ty đừng phạt shipper (fine the companies, not shippers)
đi bộ về quê (walk to the hometowns)
ko 1 đồng (not a penny)
ko 1 kg gạo (not one kilogram of rice)
xuống âm phủ mới nhận (go to hell to get financial aids)
gói cứu trợ mồm (financial aid pacakges on paper)
ko tới tay dân (did not reach the people)
rớt nhiều vào túi những người ra quyết định (only those who make decisions benefit)
chậm trễ (delay)
ngồi phòng lạnh ra quyết định (decisions made from air-conditioned rooms)
dân khổ quá rồi (the people are too miserable)
dân chết đói hết rồi (the people are starving)
hết lương thực (run out of food)
lấy gì mà sống (how can I survive)
mệt mỏi lắm rồi (public patience wears thin)
dân còn khổ dài dài (never-ending misery for the people)
dân lãnh hết (the people bear the brunt)
cầm cự không nổi nữa (can’t stand it anymore)
mất việc (unemployed)
phải trả nợ ngân hàng (bank debt)
phải trả lãi ngân hang (bank interests)
phá sản (bankruptcy)
chủ quan (complacency)
ngạo nghễ (too much pride)
lúng túng (bungling)
lơ là (lack of vigilance)
yếu kém (incompetence)
tốn kém (waste)
luẩn quẩn (vicious cycle)
không hiệu quả (inefficient)
không ai chống dịch giống Việt Nam (no country controls the pandemic like Vietnam)  

APPENDIX 4. Public Sentiments Online on Vietnam’s Pandemic Messaging

Keywords on Public SupportKeywords on Public Criticism
ủng hộ lời kêu gọi chính phủ (support the government’s call)
cám ơn lãnh đạo gần dân (appreciate the government for being sympathetic to the public)
phải tin vào lãnh đạo (must have faith in the leaders)
bác Chính xuống làm việc (Prime Minister Chính pays a site visit)
nhiều người chửi nhà nước dữ quá (too many people criticize the government)
thủ tướng tuyệt vời đi vào lòng dân (kudos to the prime minister for wining public hearts and minds)
Quyết định thủ tướng tuyệt vời (a wonderful decision by the prime minister)
ủng hộ thống nhất app (support the integration of contact-tracing apps)
lãnh đạo ngày càng dùng công nghệ (leaders go increasingly tech-savvy)
quyết định thủ tướng đúng đắn (a right decision by the prime minster)
phường nhắn tin gọi điện liên tục (ward officials keep texting and calling)
tổng đài rất nhanh (call centers are very responsive)
địa phương phối hợp tốt (local provinces coordinate well)
thấu hiểu tâm tư nguyện vọng (understanding the public)
họp trực tuyến rất hay (teleconference is great)
thủ tướng nói rất hay (the prime minister speaks eloquently)
cư xử với dân ôn hòa (treat the people kindly)
thiết thực (useful information)
nói ít làm nhiều (actions, not words, matter)
không làm đúng dân chửi (incur the public wrath for failing to do their job properly)
làm như lo cho dân lắm (as if they cared much about the people)
chỉ thấy toàn thị uy (the officials just show off)
không a dua theo đám đông là bị quy chụp (get pigeonholed for not following the pack)
chính quyền sợ dân túng làm loạn (the government worries that desperate people will rise)
ra quân để phạt người dân (deploy the fore just to fine people)
toàn màu mè (just grandstanding)
khí thế chứ dân chết đói (the people are starving despite the official grandstanding)
trên nói nghe để đó (government directions fall on deaf ears)
chính quyền phải nói thật với người dân (the authorities need to be transparent with the people)
bình mới rượu cũ (new bottle old wine)
không coi chính phủ ra gì (disdain the government)
nhiều app quá (too many contact-tracing apps)
rủi ro lộ thông tin cá nhân (risk of personal data leak)
giấu thông tin (information cover-up)
hô hào thì giỏi (no action, talk only)
báo đài không nói rõ (the media didn’t articulate well)
mỗi người nói một kiểu (contradicting messages)
nhà nước thông não cấp dưới giùm (the government needs to rein in local leaders)
tổ trưởng chẳng làm được gì (neighborhood chiefs are hopeless)
Người dân không có tiếng nói (the people have no voice)
Mấy chục lần 2 tuần (how many times “two more weeks”?)
nói thì giỏi làm thì dở (no action, talk only)
giả mù giả điếc (turn a blind eye)
thủ tướng yêu cầu nhưng về địa phương lại khác (local leaders contradict the prime minister directive)
cấp cao cần kiểm tra lại (central leaders need to double check their local subordinates)
đừng thấy đỏ mà tưởng là chin (don’t count the chickens before they are hatched)
đánh úp người dân (caught the people off-guard)
hứa thật nhiều thất hứa thật nhiều (too much lip service)
bảo fake news hóa ra real (fake news turns out to be real)
có ca nhiễm vẫn nói kiểm soát (too many cases but officials still claim under control)
giấu như mèo giấu cứt (cover up) chống dịch trên tivi (fight the pandemic on TV)
làm dân hoang mang (confuse the public)
loạn cào cào (too chaotic)
quay dân như chong chóng (leave the people scratching their heads)
baáo chí mỗi người một phách (the media conveys contradicting messages)
không hiểu nổi chính sách (cannot understand the policy)
mị dân (demagogic) diễn sâu (showmanship)
_ giao hàng chậm (slow delivery)
tin đồn vài ngày nữa thành sự thật (rumors become true after several days)  

APPENDIX 5. Pro-Government Facebook Pages

Việt Nam trong tim tôihttps://www.facebook.com/VNTTTnew/
Phân đội Alpha- Đơn vị Tác Chiến Điện Tửhttps://www.facebook.com/WarCommissar
Tifosihttps://www.facebook.com/tifosi.hpo
Học viện phòng chống phản động – Anti-reactionary academyhttps://www.facebook.com/aravietnam2017
Đất Nước vs Dân Tộchttps://www.facebook.com/datnuocvsdantoc
Thông tin chống phản độnghttps://www.facebook.com/thongtinchongphandong/
TÔI YÊU CÔNG AN NHÂN DÂN VIỆT NAMhttps://www.facebook.com/ToiYeuCANDVN/
VietDefensehttps://www.facebook.com/VietDefenseVN
Quả Đấm Thép Miền Đông Nam Bộhttps://www.facebook.com/miendonggianlaomaanhdung
Trang Quân sự Việt Namhttps://www.facebook.com/qsvnfp

ENDNOTES

[1] Tomoya Onishi, “Ho Chi Minh City jobless flee as Vietnam eases COVID curbs”. Nikkei Asia, 1 October 2021. https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Coronavirus/Ho-Chi-Minh-City-jobless-flee-as-Vietnam-eases-COVID-curbs

[2] “Plan to ban people from leaving their homes triggers panic buying in Ho Chi Minh City”. Reuters and The Straits Times, 21 August 2021. https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/panic-buying-in-vietnams-ho-chi-minh-city-before-tighter-covid-19-lockdown

[3] Sen Nguyen, “Vietnam’s Pandemic Success Is a Lesson for the World”. GlobalAsia, September 2020. https://www.globalasia.org/v15no3/cover/vietnams-pandemic-success-is-a-lesson-for-the-world_sen-nguyen

[4] “COVID-19: government handling and confidence in health authorities”. YouGov, 9 May 2021. https://today.yougov.com/topics/international/articles-reports/2020/03/17/perception-government-handling-covid-19

[5] Chen Lin, “Vietnam urges WHO to send more COVID-19 shots as cases surge despite lockdown”. Reuters, 25 August 2021. https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/vietnam-urges-who-send-more-covid-19-shots-cases-surge-despite-lockdown-2021-08-25/

[6] “Vietnam passes 800,000 reported COVID-19 infections”. Reuters, 4 October 2021. https://graphics.reuters.com/world-coronavirus-tracker-and-maps/countries-and-territories/vietnam/

[7] “Ho Chi Minh City could lift lockdown, end ‘zero COVID-19’ policy”. Channel News Asia, 3 September 2021. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/asia/vietnam-ho-chi-minh-city-lift-lockdown-end-zero-covid-19-policy-2154341

[8] Zachary Abuza, “What Explains Vietnam’s Current COVID-19 Struggles?”. The Diplomat, 15 June 2021. https://thediplomat.com/2021/06/what-explains-vietnams-current-covid-19-struggles/

[9] Tomoya Onishi, “Vietnam accepts China COVID shots as inoculation drive stalls”. Nikkei Asia, 21 June 2021. https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Coronavirus/Vietnam-accepts-China-COVID-shots-as-inoculation-drive-stalls

[10] Barnaby Flower, “Delta variant sets off alarm bells in Vietnam”. East Asia Forum, 1 Augut 2021. https://www.eastasiaforum.org/2021/08/01/delta-variant-sets-off-alarm-bells-in-vietnam/

[11] “Vaccine hoarding set to backfire on rich nations as India reels from Covid-19 surge”. The Straits Times, 27 April 2021. https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/south-asia/vaccine-hoarding-set-to-backfire-on-rich-nations-as-india-reels

[12] Jeffrey Gettleman, Emily Schmall and Mujib Mashal, “India Cuts Back on Vaccine Exports as Infections Surge at Home”. New York Times, 25 March 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/25/world/asia/india-covid-vaccine-astrazeneca.html

[13] Prak Chan Thul, “How China’s vaccine diplomacy brought bosom buddy Cambodia even closer”. Reuters, 8 June 2021. https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/how-chinas-vaccine-diplomacy-brought-bosom-buddy-cambodia-even-closer-2021-06-08/

[14] Jeneen Interlandi, “The World Is at War with Covid. Covid Is Winning”. New York Times, 21 September 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/21/opinion/sunday/covid-vaccine-world.html

[15] Phuong Nguyen, “Vietnam opts for containment over ‘high risk’ rush for costly vaccine”. Reuters, 6 November 2020. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-vietnam-idINKBN27M0L8

[16] Le Hong Hiep, “Challenges Facing Vietnam’s Covid-19 Vaccination Drive”. Fulcrum, 8 June 2021. https://fulcrum.sg/challenges-facing-vietnams-covid-19-vaccination-drive/

[17] Tan Hui Yee, “Vietnam grapples with public frustration over Covid-19 pandemic missteps and transparency”. The Straits Times, 28 July 2021. https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/vietnam-grapples-with-public-frustration-over-pandemic-missteps-and-transparency

[18] “Vietnam to receive 1 mln doses of AstraZeneca vaccine weekly from July”. Reuters, 22 June 2021. https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/vietnam-receive-1-mln-doses-astrazeneca-vaccine-weekly-july-2021-06-22/

[19] Sarah Johnson and Nhung Nguyen, “‘Hunger was something we read about’: lockdown leaves Vietnam’s poor without food”. The Guardian, 8 September 2021. https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/sep/08/hunger-was-something-we-read-about-lockdown-leaves-vietnams-poor-without-food

[20] Tomoya Onishi, Vietnam’s GDP shrinks 6.17% in Q3, hurt by pandemic lockdowns. Nikkei Asia, September 29, 2021. https://asia.nikkei.com/Economy/Vietnam-s-GDP-shrinks-6.17-in-Q3-hurt-by-pandemic-lockdowns

[21] Tomoya Onishi and Grace Li, “Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City has highest COVID death rate in region”. Nikkei Asia, 11 September 2021. https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Coronavirus/Vietnam-s-Ho-Chi-Minh-City-has-highest-COVID-death-rate-in-region

[22] “Vietnam aims for dual goal in 2022 economic development plan”. Nhan Dan, 27 July 2021. https://en.nhandan.vn/business/item/10208702-vietnam-aims-for-dual-goal-in-2022-economic-development-plan.html

[23] Sebastian Strangio, “COVID-19 Stages Another Comeback in Vietnam”. The Diplomat, 4 May 2021. https://thediplomat.com/2021/05/covid-19-stages-another-comeback-in-vietnam/

[24] Tomoya Onishi, “Vietnam launches $1.1bn COVID vaccine fund: 5 things to know”. Nikkei Asia, 4 June 2021. https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Coronavirus/Vietnam-launches-1.1bn-COVID-vaccine-fund-5-things-to-know

[25] Anh Minh, “Vietnam nears vaccination fund goal”. VnExpress International, 25 June 2021. https://e.vnexpress.net/news/news/vietnam-nears-vaccination-fund-goal-4299818.html

[26] Dien Nguyen An Luong, “How How The Vietnamese State Uses Cyber Troops to Shape Online Discourse”, ISEAS Perspective, no. 2020/115, 13 October 2020, p. 2

[27] “Vietnam licenses firm to import 5 mln doses of Sinopharm vaccine”. Reuters, 9 July 2021. https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/vietnam-licenses-firm-import-5-mln-doses-sinopharm-vaccine-2021-07-09/

[28] “Vietnam Faces Risk of Interruption in Vaccination Campaign”. Voice of America, 26 August 2021. https://www.voanews.com/a/covid-19-pandemic_vietnam-faces-risk-interruption-vaccination-campaign/6210002.html

[29] “COVID-19: Willingness to be vaccinated”. YouGov, 18 October 2021. https://yougov.co.uk/topics/international/articles-reports/2021/01/12/covid-19-willingness-be-vaccinated

[30] Viet Tuan, “Vietnam to buy 20 million Chinese vaccine doses”. VnExpress International, 22 September 2021. https://e.vnexpress.net/news/news/vietnam-to-buy-20-million-chinese-vaccine-doses-4360543.html

[31] Sen Nguyen, “Volunteers in Vietnam come to the rescue as coronavirus lockdown hits the vulnerable”. South China Morning Post, 11 August 2021. https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/health-environment/article/3144571/volunteers-vietnam-come-rescue-coronavirus-lockdown

[32] Joanik Bellalou, “Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City turns into ghost town under Covid-19 lockdown”. The Straits Times, 19 July 2021. https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/vietnams-ho-chi-minh-city-turns-into-ghost-town-under-covid-19-lockdown

[33] “Vietnam’s capital ramps up testing after extending COVID-19 curbs”. Reuters, 6 September 2021. https://news.trust.org/item/20210906103522-37n73/

[34] Anh Minh, “Pandemic impacts survey finds 62 percent losing jobs”. VnExpress International, 2 September 2021. https://e.vnexpress.net/news/business/data-speaks/pandemic-impacts-survey-finds-62-percent-losing-jobs-4349806.html

[35] Tomoya Onishi, “Vietnam deploys troops in Ho Chi Minh City to suppress COVID”. Nikkei Asia, 20 August 2021. https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Coronavirus/Vietnam-deploys-troops-in-Ho-Chi-Minh-City-to-suppress-COVID

[36] Dinh Van, Quynh Tran, “Soldiers supply food to HCMC needy”. VnExpress International, 23 August 2021. https://e.vnexpress.net/news/news/soldiers-supply-food-to-hcmc-needy-4345077.html

[37] Tomoya Onishi, “Vietnam faces food delivery crisis in Ho Chi Minh City”. Nikkei Asia, 3 September 2021. https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Coronavirus/Vietnam-faces-food-delivery-crisis-in-Ho-Chi-Minh-City

[38] Huu Cong, HCMC shippers to resume operations in eight high-risk districts. VnExpress International, 28 August 2021. https://e.vnexpress.net/news/news/hcmc-shippers-to-resume-operations-in-eight-high-risk-districts-4347870.html

[39] Tomoya Onishi and Grace Li, “Vietnam extends Ho Chi Minh City lockdown as COVID rages”. Nikkei Asia, 16 September 2021. https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Coronavirus/Vietnam-extends-Ho-Chi-Minh-City-lockdown-as-COVID-rages

[40] Viet Tuan, “Vietnam prepares to live safely with Covid: PM”. VnExpress International, 6 September 2021. https://e.vnexpress.net/news/news/vietnam-prepares-to-live-safely-with-covid-pm-4351981.html

[41] Truong Thuy Quynh and Pham Thi Thuy Duong, “Bittersweet: Vietnam’s Mixed Progress on E-Government During COVID-19”. The Diplomat, 16 July 2021. https://thediplomat.com/2021/07/bittersweet-vietnams-mixed-progress-on-e-government-during-covid-19/

[42] Liam Gammon, “Vietnam is paying for its early virus success. Sound familiar?”. Financial Review, 1 August 2021. https://www.afr.com/world/asia/vietnam-is-paying-for-its-early-virus-success-sound-familiar-20210801-p58ery

[43] Hong Kong Nguyen and Tung Manh Ho, “Vietnam’s COVID-19 Strategy: Mobilizing Public Compliance Via Accurate and Credible Communication”, ISEAS Perspective, no. 2020/69, 25 June 2020. /wp-content/uploads/2020/05/ISEAS_Perspective_2020_69.pdf

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