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|1.68 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were due to reach Vietnam on Sunday, photo AFP|
On Thursday this week, Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long announced that the United Nations Children’s Fund confirmed an additional 1.68 million doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine to arrive in Vietnam via the COVAX facility on May 16.
“The Ministry of Health (MoH) has been striving to fast-track negotiations with potential manufacturers and countries to increase the supply of vaccines for Vietnam,” Long noted. “The MoH will then allocate the vaccine to cities and provinces as planned earlier.” Long asked cities and provinces to prepare for the third phase of vaccinations, with an extended scale.
Some 110 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were in commitments to be supplied to Vietnam in 2021, including nearly 39 million doses from COVAX, 30 million from AstraZeneca, and 31 million doses from Pfizer/BioNTech. In addition, the MoH has registered with COVAX to buy an extra 10 million doses via a cost-sharing mechanism.
In the meantime, the MoH is negotiating with Moderna, Johnson&Johnson, and other providers from countries like Germany (CureVac), Russia (Sputnik V), and China (Sinopharm) to receive more possible sources of vaccines.
Vietnam started COVID-19 vaccinations on March 8. By May 13, the country has vaccinated about 960,000 people, all of which are healthcare workers who directly treat COVID-19 infections, other medical staff, and members of COVID-19 prevention and fighting community groups, as well as police forces and the army.
Vietnam is currently only applying AstraZeneca’s vaccine to inoculate its population. Compared with developed and regional countries like Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia, Vietnam’s vaccination rate remains relatively low.
Tran Van Thuan - Deputy Minister of Health
As ruled by the Ministry of Health and the national vaccination programme, all people who are subject to COVID-19 vaccinations receive a careful consultation and screening examination before being vaccinated.
Casualties in combination with a vaccine, like the recent case in the southern province of An Giang, are very rare and this person already had a history of allergic reactions.
We have carried out meetings to learn lessons from this case and perform safety measures before giving out shots. As a result, we are building on regular training for health professionals, as well as ensuring people who have a history of allergic reactions have the correct support at health centres when going for a shot.
Nitin Kapoor - Chair and general director AstraZeneca Vietnam
Patient safety is the highest priority for AstraZeneca. Our COVID-19 vaccine has been shown to be well tolerated and highly effective against all disease severities across adults in clinical trials, and emerging real-world evidence from tens of millions of people also shows that the vaccine reduces severe disease and hospital admissions by more than 80 per cent after the first dose.
Regulators in the United Kingdom, the EU, and the World Health Organization have concluded that the benefits of using AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine to protect people from this virus significantly outweigh the extremely rare risks.
Worldwide, more than 400 million doses of our vaccine have been distributed to over 165 countries.