More than 500,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine as a donation from Poland arrived in Hanoi on Saturday, health authorities reported.
The shipment of 501,600 shots was transported to the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology for storage and preservation after reaching Noi Bai International Airport at noon on Saturday, the Ministry of Health said.
Poland will also transfer 3.5 million more AstraZeneca vaccine jabs to Vietnam, with the specific delivery date yet to be set.
The European country will give Vietnam essential medical equipment worth US$4 million for COVID-19 prevention and control, which is expected to arrive in early September.
Vietnam is the first country outside Europe to receive coronavirus vaccines and medical devices from Poland, Polish Ambassador to Vietnam Wojciech Gerwel said at a recent meeting with Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh in Hanoi.
Some other European countries have said they would offer COVID-19 vaccines to Vietnam, according to the health ministry.
Currently, the Southeast Asian country is shoring up ‘vaccine diplomacy’ to get more supplies in the coming time.
Next week, at least three more million shots will be delivered to Vietnam, making the total vaccine volume sent to the country this month higher than expected, but it is still lower than actual demand, the ministry said.
The nation has so far approved six COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use in Vietnam, namely AstraZeneca, Moderna, Sinopharm, Pfizer, Sputnik V, and Johnson & Johnson.
Vietnam is also considering licensing Hayat-Vax, a coronavirus vaccine made in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), for emergency use.
Meanwhile, Nano Covax, a vaccine developed by Ho Chi Minh City-based Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC, is scheduled to be registered for emergency approval this month as part of an effort to make the first Vietnamese vaccine available as soon as possible.
Vietnam has targeted to secure 150 million of vaccine doses to inoculate two-thirds of its 98-million population, but it has received only some 24 million doses from different sources, including COVAX Facility, contractual purchases, and donations.
By Saturday evening, the numbers of people receiving the first and second coronavirus vaccine doses nationwide had neared 14.8 million and topped 1.7 million, respectively, the health ministry’s data shows.
The ministry has documented more than 336,707 COVID-19 cases across the country since the pandemic hit it in early 2020.
The death toll has reached 7,540, which is 2.3 percent of the total number of patients, equal to the global rate.
The coronavirus has now spread to 62 out of the country’s 63 cities and provinces, with Ho Chi Minh topping the list with some 172,000 cases, followed by Binh Duong Province with 67,000, and Long An Province with 17,000 cases.
The only province in Vietnam has yet to be affected by COVID-19 is Cao Bang, where measures against coronavirus penetration are strictly applied.