No AstraZeneca Covid vaccine doses left in Vietnam

By Le Nga   May 8, 2024 | 01:20 am PT
No AstraZeneca Covid vaccine doses left in Vietnam
A box of the AstraZeneca vaccine gifted by the U.K. is stored in Hanoi, Aug. 3, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Tran Minh
The National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology said Vietnam no longer had any AstraZeneca Covid-19 doses, with the last doses having been used up in July last year.

"Right now, Vietnam only has Covid-19 vaccine doses produced by Pfizer, with their expiration dates being in September 2024," a representative of the institute said Wednesday, following news that AstraZeneca would recall its Covid-19 vaccine doses globally.

AstraZeneca doses were the first Covid-19 vaccine to be present in Vietnam in February 2021, and was also the first to be approved for importation. It was developed by pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca, in cooperation with the U.K.’s Oxford University. Before it was approved for use in Vietnam, the vaccine was approved for emergency use in 181 countries and territories.

When the pandemic broke out, Vietnam had purchased 30 million AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine doses, along with waves of donation. The latest distribution of the vaccine was in February 2023, when the institute gave over 800,000 doses, with expiration dates until July last year, to localities.

By mid-2023, Vietnam had given over 266.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines from various manufacturers, making the country one of the world’s best in terms of vaccine coverage.

On May 8, AstraZeneca said it would recall its Covid-19 vaccine doses globally amid dropping demand. The firm said the reason for the recall was commercial.

Previously, AstraZeneca admitted that its vaccine may result in rare side effects, including thrombosis and thrombocytopenia. Such side effects may lead to strokes, but authorities said the chances are rare, with only one out of 250,000 people in the U.K. experiencing it. Thrombosis may also be caused by several other factors, not just vaccination.

The Ministry of Health said people should not be worried over such an announcement, as side effects due to the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccination would only happen within 28 days of the injection.

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