US Military Helps Vietnam Enhance Testing Capacity

The US Embassy in Hanoi on July 6 presented a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machine and mobile lab equipment to the Military Medical Department under the Ministry of National Defence.
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US Chargé d'Affaires Christopher Klein (left) and Maj. Gen. Nguyen Xuan Kien, head of the Military Medical Department under the General Department of Logistics, at the handover ceremony. Photo: qdnd.vn
US Chargé d'Affaires Christopher Klein (left) and Maj. Gen. Nguyen Xuan Kien, head of the Military Medical Department under the General Department of Logistics, at the handover ceremony. Photo: Ministry of National Defence

This equipment is a gift from the US Department of Defence to strengthen Vietnam’s pandemic response by enhancing Vietnam’s mobile testing capabilities.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, head of the Military Medical Department under the General Department of Logistics Major General Nguyen Xuan Kien sincerely thanked the US side for the gift.

Kien said since the pandemic broke out, the US Government has supported Vietnam in the fight through different forms and channels, stressing that the support demonstrates the effective and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries.

US Military Helps Vietnam Enhance Testing Capacity
Maj. Gen. Nguyen Xuan Kien, head of the Military Medical Department under the General Department of Logistics, speaks at the hand-over ceremony. Photo: Ministry of National Defence

He affirmed that the Covid-19 laboratory equipment will help the Vietnam People’s Army raise its testing capability, so as to respond to the pandemic in an effective and timely manner, according to People’s Army Newspaper.

The lab equipment is a part of the ongoing health cooperation between the US and Vietnam. To date, the US government has supported Vietnam’s health system development with over $1 billion in health assistance, including HIV/AIDS relief, influenza detection and management, and over $13 million in support for Vietnam’s Covid-19 response.

Last September, the US donated 100 American-made ventilators to Vietnam, and the Biden administration has pledged to provide hundreds of millions of doses of Covid-19 vaccine worldwide, some of which will go to Vietnam.

US Military Helps Vietnam Enhance Testing Capacity
US Chargé d'Affaires Christopher Klein speaks at the hand-over ceremony. Photo: Ministry of National Defence

The United States and Vietnam have worked closely over the past 26 years building our relationship on trust and mutual respect.” Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Christopher Klein was cited by the Government Portal as saying, adding that “working together, we can overcome the difficulties Covid-19 has imposed on all of us.

He thanked Vietnam for supplying millions of pieces of personal protective equipment to the American people last year. He committed to continue to advocate for more vaccine support for Vietnam.

US’s 2 million Covid vaccine doses to arrive in Vietnam this weekend

A vial of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. — AFP/VNA
A vial of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Photo: AFP/VNA

The US on July 6 began sending Vietnam two million doses of Covid-19 vaccine, the White House said, in its latest assistance to countries struggling to tame the pandemic.

The Moderna vaccine shipment -- part of a first 80 million doses that President Joe Biden has pledged to allocate worldwide -- should arrive in Vietnam this weekend, a White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.

"This is just the beginning of doses being shipped to Southeast Asia," the official said.

A million doses went to Malaysia on July 5 and last week the White House announced delivery "soon" of four million doses to Indonesia.

Other regional countries in line for a share of the 80 million doses are Cambodia, Laos, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Thailand.

Vietnam, which borders China, was initially seen as a model for resisting the pandemic. However, vaccination rates are low in the nation of about 97 million people and the last few weeks have seen infections rise sharply.

The Biden administration official said the delivery to Vietnam, made through the World Health Organization's Covax program, is part of a strategy aimed at "ending the pandemic everywhere."

The donation is not a so-called "vaccine diplomacy" contest with China and Russia, the official said, although both Beijing and Moscow have been using their domestically produced vaccines to deepen influence across the world.

"We are sharing these doses not to secure favors or extract concessions. Our vaccines do not come with strings attached," the official said, repeating the White House's established line.

A man is injected with a Covid-19 vaccine shot in HCMC, June 2021. Photo by VnExpress/
A man is injected with a Covid-19 vaccine shot in HCMC, June 2021. Photo: VnExpress

In addition to the 80 million doses already set aside, the Biden administration has committed to donating $2 billion to Covax.

It is also purchasing 500 million Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines for the African Union and 92 poorer countries. At the recent G7 summit in Britain, US partners agreed to donate another 500 million doses.

In total, the US has so far delivered about 40 million of the doses to countries as far apart as the Republic of Korea (RoK) and Honduras, the White House says.

Announcing the Vietnam batch, the White House noted that its donations abroad total "significantly more than any other country has sent."/.

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