HCMC seeks to buy 5 million doses of US Covid vaccine

By Huu Cong   March 9, 2021 | 04:30 am PT
HCMC seeks to buy 5 million doses of US Covid vaccine
A medical worker at the HCMC Hospital for Tropical Diseases checks an AstraZeneca vaccine vial prior to administration, March 8 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa.
The HCMC health officials have successfully negotiated with U.S. company Moderna to buy five million doses of its mRNA-1273 vaccine against Covid-19.

The city plans to have nine million people vaccinated, and so requires 18 million doses. With its share from the Health Ministry's vaccine packages, the city will need to buy another five million doses, the department said in a proposal to the city People's Committee.

The U.S. company has promised to dispatch the vaccine in the third quarter of this year. Neither side disclosed the price.

The purchase of the vaccine will use the city budget reserved for pandemic fight, and private sources, the proposal said.

The Ministry of Health has approved Moderna's mRNA-1273 vaccine for use in emergencies.

The vaccine is based on messenger RNA technology and uses synthetic genes that can be generated and manufactured in weeks and scaled up more rapidly than conventional vaccines. It has proved to be 94 percent effective.

The government last month approved for Hanoi and Hai Phong to use private sources to fund their purchases of Covid-19 vaccines.

Hanoi said it needs 15 million doses to vaccinate everyone above 18 while the northern port city Hai Phong plans to acquire more than two million doses.

The northern province of Quang Ninh, a hotspot during the latest outbreak, plans to spend VND500 billion ($21.7 million) to buy Covid-19 vaccine while Dong Nai, which neighbors HCMC, wants to purchase 6.2 million doses for 3.1 million people.

On Monday 377 medical and other frontline workers in HCMC, Hanoi and Hai Duong received the first dose of the vaccine produced by British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca as the country of 98 million began a mass immunization program. More frontline workers in Hanoi and the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai received their first shots on Tuesday.

No one has showed any adverse reactions so far, according to the health ministry.

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