May 17, 2021 / 06:29

Almost 1.7 million Covid-19 vaccine doses from COVAX arrive in Vietnam

COVAX program aims to accelerate the development and manufacture of Covid-19 vaccines, and to guarantee fair and equitable access for every country in the world.

Vietnam received the second batch of Covid-19 vaccines sourced via COVAX, containing 1.7 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses, on May 16, according to the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE).

A container of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine distributed via the COVAX facility arrives at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi. Photo: UNICEF

The NIHE said that the vaccine, supplied by the global vaccine sharing initiative COVAX Facility and delivered by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), will be distributed to all agencies and localities to speed up the national vaccination drive, especially for priority groups.

This is the second batch from COVAX in addition to the shipment of 811,200 doses of AstraZeneca that arrived on April 1. The shipments are part of the 4.1 million doses committed in free support for Vietnam under the COVAX facility, the NIHE added.

The second batch will be used to expand vaccination coverage to more people in priority groups, and provide a second dose to those who have already got the first dose.

Vietnam began its inoculation program in March using the vaccine produced by British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca, secured either through contracts or under COVAX.

COVAX is co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and WHO. Its aim is to accelerate the development and manufacture of Covid-19 vaccines and to guarantee fair and equitable access for every country in the world.

Vietnam is seeking to secure 150 million Covid-19 vaccine doses this year to cover 70% of its population. It is trying to diversify its vaccine supplies in addition to domestically made Covid-19 vaccines that are still in clinical trials.

Over 977,000 people, or about 1% of Vietnam's population, have been vaccinated against the novel coronavirus so far, according to the National Expanded Program on Immunization.

At the time of writing, the nation’s tally is 4,175, with 2,668 recoveries and 36 deaths.