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More Covid-19 vaccines arrive in Vietnam

Jasmine Le Jasmine Le

lehang1997hanu@gmail.com

May 26, 2021 | 18:32

This is the 4th batch distributed to the country so far to help step up coronavirus vaccine rollout.

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More Covid-19 vaccines arrive in Vietnam
A medical worker prepares a Covid-19 vaccine shot in HCMC, May 11, 2021. (Photo: VNE)

A total of 288,000 AstraZeneca doses arrived at Tan Son Nhat International Airport on Tuesday night. They were the second batch under a contract of among Vietnam Vaccine JSC (VNVC), the Ministry of Health and the British-Swedish AstraZeneca company, Nitin Kapoor, chairman and general director of AstraZeneca Vietnam, said May 25.

The new vaccines are preserved at the cold storage.

Along with two other batches through global vaccine access mechanism Covax, Vietnam has thus far been allocated roughly 2.9 million doses of AstraZenca vaccine.

The country began its nationwide vaccine rollout on March 8, prioritizing frontline workers like medical personnel, border and police force, Steering Committee for Covid-19 prevention and control members, among others. Over a million shots have been given, around 28,800 recipients have been fully vaccinated.

Vietnam is expecting around 110 million Covid-19 vaccine doses by late 2021. 38.9 million of the doses are from Covax, 30 million via Vietnam Vaccine JSC’s contract, 31 million from Pfizer-BioNTech.

Authorities have reportedly been going all out to raise the number to 150 million doses, targeting to cover 75% of the population.

More Covid-19 vaccines arrive in Vietnam
The first batch of AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in Vietnam in February (Photo: VNA)

Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said the ministry was in talks with foreign groups and companies to secure more vaccines, including Pfizer-BioNTech and Sputnik V. It has also signed up a contract under the cost-sharing scheme with Covax to enjoy cheaper prices.

“Getting all citizens vaccinated is one of the basic and strategic policies in Vietnam’s battle against the Covid-19 pandemic,” Long said. “We should mobilize all resources available to help speed up vaccine access. People can only return to normal life when the virus is contained.”

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh suggested establishing a Covid-19 vaccine fund at a meeting between the permanent Government members and a number of ministries and agencies on May 24. The money would be sourced from the state budget and donations from organizations, enterprises, benefactors, among others. Donations to and use of the fund must be transparent.

More Covid-19 vaccines arrive in Vietnam
PM Pham Minh Chinh at the meeting on May 24 (Photo: VNE)

Indigenous vaccines are also being developed, with human trials underway for Nanocovax by Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC and Covivac by the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals.

Nanocovax is expected to begin the third phase of trials next week on 13,000 volunteers, and, if everything goes well, could enter production as early as September.

A month into the new wave that started April 27, Vietnam has recorded 2,873 local Covid-19 cases in 30 cities and provinces. Bac Giang and Bac Ninh suffer the highest infections with 1,454 and 556. The country has so far documented 4,362 local cases and 1,489 imported cases.

The number of recoveries has reached 2,794, while the death toll stood at 44. Among active patients, 70 have tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 once, 41 twice and 69 thrice.

The 4th wave has been predicted as more prolonged and complicated. However, it has basically been put under control as most of the new cases are either under quarantine or from blockaded areas. Infection sources had also been traced.

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Jasmine Le