Vietnam approves Abdala Covid-19 vaccine as president visits Cuba

Abdala becomes the eighth Covid-19 vaccine approved for use in Vietnam.
Abdala becomes the eighth Covid-19 vaccine approved for use in Vietnam.PHOTO: REUTERS

HANOI (REUTERS) - Vietnam has approved Cuba's Abdala vaccine for use against Covid-19, the government said on Saturday (Sept 18), as the South-east Asian country battles its worst outbreak.

Abdala is the eighth Covid-19 vaccine approved for use in Vietnam, which has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the region, with only 6.3 per cent of its 98 million people having received at least two shots.

The announcement came hours after President Nguyen Xuan Phuc left Hanoi for an official visit to Havana.

Vietnam has recorded 667,650 coronavirus infections and 16,637 deaths, the vast majority during the Delta-driven outbreak from late April.

"The Ministry of Health has approved Abdala vaccine, based on the country's urgent need for its Covid-19 fight," the government said in a statement.

The ministry last month said Cuba would supply large quantities of Abdala to Vietnam and transfer the production technology by the end of the year.

Vietnam and Cuba are among the last five Communist-ruled countries in the world, along with China, Laos and North Korea.

In July, Vietnam urged the United States to end its "hostile policy" towards Cuba and lift its longstanding trade embargo after rare anti-government protests on the island.