Vietnam to access its first COVAX coronavirus vaccines in Q1

FILE PHOTO: A woman holds a small bottle labelled with a “Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine” sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration taken October 30, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnam is expected to get access to the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines within the first quarter under the COVAX coronavirus vaccine sharing scheme, its government said on Friday.

The World Health Organization is working with Vietnam’s health ministry over the use of COVAX vaccines in the country, the government said in a statement.

The COVAX vaccine-sharing facility has allocated at least 330 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for poorer countries and will aim to deliver these and many millions more in the first half of 2021.

The health ministry on Jan. 30 approved the vaccine from AstraZeneca for domestic inoculations.

The government has said it would buy up to 30 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and the first batch would arrive by the end of March.

Vietnam reported 19 more COVID-19 cases on Friday and said a recent outbreak had expanded to at least 11 cities and provinces.

The outbreak detected on Jan. 27 has accounted for about a fifth of Vietnam’s total of 1,976 coronavirus cases. It has recorded 35 deaths overall, among the lowest numbers in Asia.

The government on Friday called for food production to be maintained to ensure sufficient supplies “in any circumstances” referring to a possible larger spread of the virus.

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