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Vietnam to receive over 5.6 million COVID-19 vaccine doses soon

Rosy Huong Rosy Huong

huongthhd@gmail.com

March 10, 2021 | 07:56

More than four million doses of Covax-funded AstraZeneca vaccine and 1.48 million other doses Vietnam has ordered will arrive this month and next.

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Vietnam launches its COVID-19 inoculation drive on March 8 morning. Photo: VNA

According to the national Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI), Vietnam will receive 4.177 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine via the Covax program with support from the UNICEF.

The Covax, or the Global COVID-19 Vaccine Facility, is a global mechanism for the development, manufacture and procurement of Covid-19 vaccine candidates, facilitating and supporting member countries to access vaccines as they become available.

Under this, 1.373 million doses are slated to arrive on March 25 and the rest in April. The vaccine is produced by British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca in collaboration with Oxford University.

Covax has pledged to provide Vietnam with 4.9 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the first half and around 33 million doses in the second half of this year.

Also within April, 1.48 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine that Vietnam had ordered to buy via the Vietnam Vaccine JSC will also be delivered, VnExpress said.

In all, Vietnam has ordered 30 million doses and 117,600 doses had arrived late last month. A large-scale vaccination program was launched on March 8, with priority given to frontline medical workers, military, and police forces.

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A medic holds a vial of Covid-19 vaccine AstraZeneca that is used to be injected for medical staff in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai, March 9, 2021. Photo: VnExpress

On March 8-9, 468 medical and other frontline workers in HCMC, Hanoi, the northern province of Hai Duong and the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai received the first dose of the vaccine. No one has showed any adverse reactions so far, according to the Health Ministry.

Vietnam is expected to acquire 150 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from foreign and domestic sources by 2022.

Besides the deal with AstraZeneca, Vietnam is also stepping up negotiations with the U.S.’s Pfizer and Moderna, along with other vaccine manufacturers in Russia and China.

Four indigenously developed Covid-19 vaccines are in the works. Human trials for Nanocovax, produced by Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC, began last December; and for Covivac, produced by the health ministry’s Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals, are expected to begin soon.

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In Hanoi, specialized trucks delivered vaccines to the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases. The cold chain, maintained at a temperature between 2-8 degrees Celsius, is ensured for vaccine storage. Photo: VnExpress

At a meeting on March 6, Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long stressed the need to ensure equality in vaccine access as suggested by the WHO, UNICEF and COVAC, the VNA said.

The Ministry of Health has allocated the vaccine to 13 localities, along with the Ministry of National Defence, the Ministry of Public Security and 21 hospitals during the first phase.

Among the localities, all having reported COVID-19 cases since the latest wave of outbreaks since January 27, the Hanoi Centre for Disease Control (CDC) is given 8,000 doses, Hai Duong CDC 32,000, and HCM City CDC 8,000.

The localities excluded in the first phase should continue to prepare for the inoculation, with training programmes, Long said, adding that they would receive the vaccine after the next shipment arrives in Vietnam in March.

The ministry will roll out the vaccination in all COVID-19 treatment hospitals, prioritising those involved in frontline work, and those who participate in the pandemic combat in the community like contact tracers.

People getting the shots will be monitored via digital health records and receive e-certificates for their completion of inoculation./.

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