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Feb 24, 2021 / 14:05

First batch of Covid-19 vaccine arrives in Vietnam

The vaccine could be instantly used for inoculation after the arrival.

Roughly 117,000 doses of Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca have arrived in Tan Son Nhat International Airport, Vietnam this morning [February 24].

 First doses of Covid vaccines arrive in Tan Son Nhat Airport, Ho Chi Minh City on February 24. Photo: VNExpress

The batch is out of 204,000 doses scheduled to arrive in the country within this month, belonging to a deal inked in November 2020 between AstraZeneca and Vietnam Vaccine JSC (VNVC), importer of Covid-19 vaccines to Vietnam.

The vaccine will be stored at VNVC’s cold facilities at temperatures ranging from minus 86 to minus 46 degrees Celcius.

Deputy Health Minister Truong Quoc Cuong said AstraZeneca vaccine could be instantly used for inoculation. This vaccine has been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) and applied in more than 50 countries with good results.

First shots is slated for March with health staff and frontline medical workers having priorities for vaccination.

About 500,000 health staff and 116,000 frontline medical workers will be vaccinated within the first quarter of this year.

The government of Vietnam announced that it will provide free vaccination to locals and a small portion for on-demand service.

 Vaccines will be stored at facilities by Vietnam Vaccine JSC (VNVC), the sole distributor of AstraZeneca vaccines. Photo: VNVC

According to Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long, the country has negotiated with AstraZeneca to import 30 million doses for 2021 and another 33 million doses from the WHO-led COVAX Facility vaccine-sharing scheme.

Meanwhile, the government said it was in talks with Russian and US vaccine manufacturers on potential supply agreements, while it expects a home-grown vaccine to be ready for domestic inoculation by May.

On February 22, WHO agreed with a no-fault compensation program for Covid-19 vaccines for side effect claims of Covid-19 vaccines distributed by COVAX for 92 countries, including Vietnam.

This is the first and only global vaccine injury compensation mechanism making compensation available to eligible individuals in 92 low- and middle-income countries without need to resort to law courts.

By providing a no-fault lump-sum compensation in full and final settlement of any claims, the COVAX program aims to significantly reduce the need for recourse to the law courts, a potentially lengthy and costly process.