HANOI (Vietnam): Vietnam has received the first shipment of 2 million doses of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine donated by the U.S. government, the American embassy in Hanoi said on Saturday, as the Southeast Asian country battles its worst outbreak.
The shipment, delivered via the COVAX sharing facility, is part of the 80 million vaccine doses President Joe Biden committed from U.S. vaccine supplies to support global needs, the embassy said in an emailed statement.
After successfully containing the coronavirus for much of the pandemic, Vietnam has since late April faced a more stubborn outbreak that has prompted calls for the government to accelerate inoculations.
The health ministry reported 1,625 new infections on Friday, the fifth straight day of more than 1,000 cases. Vietnam has recorded 26,600 infections overall and 110 deaths, which is still relatively low compared with European nations, India and the United States.
Most of Vietnam’s new cases are in epicentre Ho Chi Minh City, which on Friday – along with some other cities – began 15 days of broad movement restrictions.
State media reports said on Saturday that half of the Moderna doses would be funnelled to Ho Chi Minh City’s 9 million people.
Vietnam has so far received around 8 million vaccine doses, mostly under the international COVAX sharing facility. More than 4 million doses have been administered, but only about 258,000 people have been fully vaccinated out of its total population of 98 million.