Vietnam is going to receive a total of 665,000 coronavirus vaccine jabs as donations from the UK and Czech governments amid accelerated vaccination efforts to curb surging COVID-19 cases, local diplomatic sources have said.
Among the vaccine donations, 415,000 AstraZeneca doses are from the UK and will be delivered directly to Vietnam this week, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday.
The remaining 250,000 vaccine jabs, whose brand has yet to be revealed, will come from the Czech Republic, as announced by Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtech several days ago.
The UK government said on its website on Wednesday that the batch of COVID-19 vaccine doses for Vietnam is part of the nine million shots it plans to offer developing countries.
“The UK is sending nine million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, the first batch of the 100 million doses we’ve pledged, to help the most vulnerable parts of the world get vaccinated as a matter of urgency,” UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the same day.
These first nine million doses will begin to be delivered to recipient countries on Friday, the diplomatic official added, emphasizing that Britain does this for the benefit of the whole world.
Meanwhile, the Czech government has announced that the 250,000 jabs intended for Vietnam is part of the 2.39 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine that it plans to offer countries in Africa, Asia, and the Balkans by the end of this year.
The Vietnamese Embassy in the Czech Republic said it is coordinating with relevant agencies from both sides to bring the vaccine doses to Vietnam soon.
Vietnam has also obtained vaccine gifts from other countries, including over five million Moderna doses from the U.S., nearly three million AstraZeneca shots from Japan, 1,000 Sputnik V doses from Russia, and 500,000 jabs of Sinopharm from China.
Australia has promised to offer Vietnam 1.5 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine and AU$13.5 million (US$10 million) through the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) for vaccine purchase from now to the year-end.
To date, Vietnam has received over 14 million COVID-19 vaccine doses in total from different sources, including COVAX Facility, contractual purchases, and donations, the Ministry of Health reported.
The Southeast Asian country aims to secure 150 million vaccine doses to vaccinate two-thirds of its 98 million population by the first quarter of next year to reach herd immunity against the coronavirus.
As of Thursday morning, more than 5.3 million COVID-19 vaccine shots have been administered nationwide, with the number of people receiving the first and second shots reaching over 4.8 million and nearly 497,000, respectively, the health ministry said.
Since the pandemic hit the country in early 2020, Vietnam has recorded 123,640 COVID-19 cases, including 121,433 domestic and 2,207 imported cases, of which 27,457 patients have recovered.
Among the domestic infections, as many as 119,863 cases, or 98.7 percent, have been logged since April 27, when the pandemic’s fourth wave erupted in Vietnam.
The highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus has been dominant among such infections.
During this wave, Ho Chi Minh City has become the largest epicenter in Vietnam, with nearly 79,700 cases documented as of Thursday morning, including 929 deaths, according to the municipal Center for Disease Control.