Vietnam will receive 5,657,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine in March and April, all made by AstraZeneca, according to the Ministry of Health.
Under 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 United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Of the amount, 1.373 million doses are slated to arrive on March 25 and the rest in April.
The Covax, or the Global Covid-19 Vaccine Facility, is the global pooled procurement mechanism for Covid-19 vaccines. Covax will ensure fair and equitable access to vaccines for all 190 participating economies, using an allocation framework formulated by World Health Organization (WHO).
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.
The first shot of Covid-19 vaccination in Hanoi. Photo: Duy Khanh
Meanwhile, 1.48 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine bought by the Health Ministry via Vietnam Vaccine SJC (VNVC) will also be delivered in April.
Vietnam received the first batch of 117,600 doses of Covid-19 on February 24, and launched its inoculation drive on March 8, administering the AstraZeneca vaccine to medical workers in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and northern province of Hai Duong, the country’s biggest pandemic hotspot at present.
In the latest outbreak of community transmission that broke out January 28, Vietnam has registered 894 cases. The outbreak has basically been put under control as 10 out of 13 affected localities, including Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, have not recorded any new infections in 24 days.
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 US’s Pfizer and Moderna, along with other vaccine manufacturers in Russia and China.
Ho Chi Minh City health officials have successfully negotiated with US company Moderna to buy five million doses of mRNA-1273 vaccine against Covid-19.
The city plans to have nine million people vaccinated, and so requires 18 million doses. With the vaccine allocation from the Health Ministry, Ho Chi Minh City will need to buy another five million doses, according to the municipal People's Committee.
The US company has promised to ship the vaccine to Vietnam in the third quarter of this year. Neither side disclosed the price.
The Vietnamese government last month approved for Hanoi and Hai Phong to use private sources to fund their purchases of Covid-19 vaccines. Hanoi said it needs 15 million doses to vaccinate everyone above 18 while the northern port city of Hai Phong plans to acquire more than two million doses.