HANOI (VIETNAM) – As the country is tackling a new wave of COVID infections, Vietnam is all set to kick-off it’s COVID-19 vaccination programme next month. Frontline healthcare staff and the elderly will be in line for the first doses.
The first wave of COVID-19 vaccinations, prioritising frontline medical workers and high-risk groups, will begin in March right after the first batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine arrives and passes quality checks, reported state media on Monday.
The Southeast Asian country expects to receive 60 million doses this year, including 30 million under the WHO-led COVAX scheme, with a first batch of 204,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine due to arrive on Feb. 28.
Refrigerators able to store vaccines at temperatures of -86 to -40 degrees Celsius (-186°F to -104°F) had been prepared in the country’s three biggest cities of Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Danang, the paper said.
Late last month, Vietnam approved the AstraZeneca vaccine for emergency use days after the country detected the first locally transmitted cases in nearly two months.
The government said previously it was in talks with Russian and U.S. vaccine manufacturers on potential supply agreements, while it expects a home-grown vaccine to be ready for domestic inoculation by May.
The country logged in 791 new cases since the latest outbreak started last month and has reported 35 deaths due to the virus.