Vietnam receives 2 million coronavirus vaccines from US as it tackles worst outbreak

Only about 258,000 people in Vietnam have been fully vaccinated out of its total population of 98 million.
Only about 258,000 people in Vietnam have been fully vaccinated out of its total population of 98 million.PHOTO: REUTERS

HANOI (REUTERS) - Vietnam has received the first shipment of two million doses of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine donated by the US government, the American Embassy in Hanoi said on Saturday (July 10), as the South-east 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 US vaccine supplies to support global needs, the embassy said in an e-mailed 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 1,853 new infections on Saturday (July 10), the sixth straight day of more than 1,000 cases, and exceeding Friday’s record of 1,625.

Vietnam has recorded 27,863 infections in total and 112 deaths, figures that are still low compared with some 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.

Half of the doses that arrived on Saturday – the country’s first Moderna shots – will be funnelled to Ho Chi Minh City’s 9 million people, state media said on Saturday. 

Vietnam has so far received around eight million vaccine doses, mostly under the international Covax sharing facility.

More than four million doses have been administered, but only about 258,000 people have been fully vaccinated out of its total population of 98 million.

The health ministry said on Friday it aimed to vaccinate 50 per cent of people aged 18 or older by the end of the year and 70 per cent by the end of March 2022.