A medical worker is injected with the Covid-19 vaccine in HCMC. A shipment of 811,200 AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine doses arrived in Vietnam this morning – PHOTO: VGP
HCMC – A shipment of 811,200 AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine doses provided by the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (Covax) Facility arrived at the Noi Bai International Airport this morning, April 1.
The vaccine will be transported to the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology for storage before the Ministry of Health delivers them to cities and provinces for vaccination. The ministry has not yet revealed the distribution plan.
Covax Facility, a global initiative that coordinates international resources to enable the equitable access of Covid-19 diagnostics, treatments and vaccines, initially planned to send 1.37 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Vietnam on March 25. However, only 811,200 doses were made available in the first shipment due to the global Covid-19 vaccine scarcity.
According to UNICEF Representative to Vietnam Rana Flowers, Covax Facility still guarantees to give Vietnam more than 4 million Covid-19 doses by the end of May despite supply shortages. Other shipments are scheduled to arrive in the country by the end of this year or early 2022.
Vietnam expects to have 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine this year, comprising 30 million doses provided by Covax Facility and 30 million others ordered by Vietnam Vaccine JSC.
In related news, the HCMC government sent an urgent dispatch to the national steering committee for Covid-19 infection prevention and control on March 30 asking for 6,000 more Covid-19 vaccine doses. These doses will be prioritized for employees at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport.
A leader of the city said the airport, which is the country’s busiest airport, became a Covid-19 hotspot in early February. However, the source of transmission remains unclear.
Prompt vaccination for people working at the airport is essential to ensure safety for a facility that plays a vital role in the trade and transport of the country.
The city had earlier received 8,000 doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine from the Ministry of Health to vaccinate frontline medical workers.