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Nearly 1 mln Covid vaccine doses arrive in Vietnam

Jasmine Le Jasmine Le

lehang1997hanu@gmail.com

June 19, 2021 | 01:16

With the latest vaccine donation from Japan, Vietnam is one step closer to its target to vaccinate 70% of the population this year.

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Nearly 1 mln Covid vaccine doses arrive in Vietnam
The batch arrived at Noi Bai International Airport at around 10 p.m. Wednesday (Photo: VNE)

A plane carrying 966,320 doses of AstraZeneca Injection vaccine touched down at Noi Bai International Airport Wednesday evening. The shipment, sent from Tokyo’s Narita airport, will be dedicated to priority groups in Ho Chi Minh city, a major coronavirus hotspot in Vietnam.

The batch was reportedly preserved in a made-in-USA Casfe container during the flight, which can adjust the internal temperature by 2 to 8 degrees Celsius.

Nearly 1 mln Covid vaccine doses arrive in Vietnam
(Photo: Ministry of Health)

“Vietnam is the first Southeast Asian country to receive vaccine support from Japan,” Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said at the airport as he received the vaccine. “We pledge to use the vaccine effectively and quickly. The batch will be transferred to HCMC and injected to local people and industrial workers.”

Yamada Takio, Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam, emphasized that Japan wishes to cooperate with the international community, especially Vietnam, to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic together.

“Try your best, Vietnam. Let’s beat the pandemic,” the ambassador said at the vaccine reception ceremony.

Nearly 1 mln Covid vaccine doses arrive in Vietnam
Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long and Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam Yamada Takio (Photo: Ministry of Health)
Nearly 1 mln Covid vaccine doses arrive in Vietnam
At the vaccine reception ceremony (Photo: Ministry of Health)

Earlier on June 15, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi promised to send a million doses of coronavirus vaccine to Vietnam. Japan is considering additional vaccine donations to Taiwan and planing similar shipments to Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand from early July, as reported by Reuters.

The country has also pledged $1 billion and 30 million doses to the COVAX facility that provides vaccines to needy countries. But the shipments to Vietnam, Taiwan, and other Asian neighbors are being made outside of COVAX to speed up delivery, Motegi said.

Nearly 1 mln Covid vaccine doses arrive in Vietnam
The vaccine will be sent to HCMC on June 18 (Photo: Ministry of Health)

Japan has contracted to buy 120 million doses of AstraZeneca's vaccine, which it approved last month. But there are no immediate plans to use it at home, as concerns linger over international reports of blood clots.

With the additional allocation from Japan, Vietnam has around 4 million doses of the British-Swedish AstraZeneca vaccine.

By Thursday morning, the country’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout which kicked off on March 3, has immunized roughly 1.77 million people, prioritizing frontline medical personnel, police, and border force, Steering Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control members, industrial workers. Over 72,300 recipients have been fully vaccinated.

The country aims to secure 50 million vaccine doses this year to cover 70% of its population.

Nearly 1 mln Covid vaccine doses arrive in Vietnam
(Photo: VNE)

On June 16 afternoon, the Ministry of Health urgently sent 800,000 vaccine doses to HCMC to help the southern metropolis as its tally tops over 1,000 cases. Industrial workers will be first in line to get the vaccine along with the prioritized groups, according to Deputy Minister Nguyen Truong Son.

Professor Phan Trong Lan, director of the Pasteur Institute, said the municipal authorities must devise plans to store and handle vaccines and prepare to inoculate 200,000 recipients per day.

The ministry also distributed another 288,000 doses to other Covid-hit provinces and cities.

Four vaccines are under development in the country: Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC, the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals, Vaccine and Biological Production Company No. 1, and Polyvac.

The novel coronavirus, which stemmed from Wuhan city, China’s Hubei province, has spread to 220 countries and territories. In Vietnam, it has affected 11,794 patients, claiming 61 lives. While the two northern provinces of Bac Giang and Bac Ninh are struggling with growing daily tally, central Vietnam is the least affected of the three regions.

In the fourth wave alone, which started on April 27, the nationwide tally has topped 8,569 cases, 25 deaths.

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Jasmine Le