Vietnam to receive 4.9 mln AstraZeneca vaccine doses via Covax

By Phan Anh   February 4, 2021 | 11:41 pm PT
Vietnam to receive 4.9 mln AstraZeneca vaccine doses via Covax
Vials with AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine are seen at the vaccination center in the Newcastle Eagles Community Arena, Britain, January 30, 2021. Photo by Reuters/Lee Smith.
Vietnam would receive around 4.886 million doses of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine via the Covax program within the first half of 2021, according to a distribution forecast.

The supplied doses for Vietnam would mean around 2.5 million people would be vaccinated against Covid-19, the U.K. Embassy in Vietnam said Thursday. AstraZeneca, responsible for producing the vaccine, is a British–Swedish multinational pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Cambridge, England.

The doses of the original Covid-19 vaccine of AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford would be distributed via Global Covid-19 Vaccine Facility (Covax), a global mechanism in the development, manufacturing and procurement of Covid-19 vaccine candidates, facilitating and supporting member countries to access vaccines as they become available.

The deal would be an addition to the doses sourced via another agreement between the Vietnamese government and AstraZeneca on Monday, in which AstraZeneca would supply the nation 30 million doses in the first half of this year for domestic inoculation.

Globally, 96 to 153 million doses of the vaccine will be distributed through Covax.

For Covax's first interim distribution forecast, the provided doses would be able to cover 3.3 percent of the total population of the 145 member nations of the facility on average, including Vietnam.

Vietnam is currently aiming at mass Covid-19 vaccination for its nearly 100 million population. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Jan. 31 requested the Health Ministry and Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam to present a plan toward buying Covid-19 vaccines within the first quarter, using the national budget and other sources.

Besides the deal with AstraZeneca, Vietnam is also stepping up negotiations with the U.S.’s Pfizer and Moderna, along with other vaccine manufacturers in Russia and China.

It is also developing its own Covid-19 vaccines, with four currently in the works. Human trials for Nanocovax, produced by Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC, began last December, while Covivac, produced by the health ministry’s Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals, is expected to begin human trials after the Lunar New Year holiday in mid-February.

Since late last month, Vietnam has been experiencing a new coronavirus outbreak with 375 community cases confirmed in 10 cities and provinces so far. The total coronavirus tally stands at 1,957.

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