Vietnamese military receives Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine from China's army

200,000 doses of China's Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine arrived in Hanoi on Aug 24, 2021.
200,000 doses of China's Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine arrived in Hanoi on Aug 24, 2021.PHOTO: AFP

HANOI (XINHUA, REUTERS) - A transport aircraft of the People's Liberation Army of China carrying a batch of China's Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine landed in Vietnam on Monday (Aug 23), ahead of a scheduled visit by US Vice-President Kamala Harris on Tuesday.

At the handover event of the 200,000 doses of vaccine at the Noi Bai International Airport in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi, the Chinese Ambassador to Vietnam Xiong Bo said China has been paying close attention to the epidemic situation in Vietnam, and that the cooperation in the fight against the pandemic is a significant part of the cooperation between the militaries.

China is willing to further its cooperation with Vietnam in battling Covid-19 in multiple ways, so as to help Vietnam control the disease and advance socio-economic development, as well as to ensure bilateral trade and the stability of the industrial and supply chains between the two countries, Mr Xiong said.

The handover marked the first time that the Vietnamese military received Covid-19 vaccines from foreign militaries, and was the most vivid representation of the comprehensive and strategic partnership between the two countries, Deputy Defence Minister Hoang Xuan Chien said at the handover event.

Extending gratitude towards China for the vaccine, he promised that Vietnam will make the most of the vaccine and administer the doses in time among the Vietnamese personnel on the frontline battling the pandemic.

Vietnam also received 501,600 AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine doses from Poland on Monday.

In total, the country has secured more than 23 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines but just 1.8 per cent of its 98 million people have been fully vaccinated - one of the lowest rates in the region.

According to Vietnam's health ministry, as of Monday evening, Vietnam has registered a total of 354,355 locally transmitted Covid-19 cases since the start of the current wave in the country in late April.

On Monday, Vietnam deployed soldiers to help enforce a strict Covid-19 lockdown in Ho Chi Minh City, its biggest urban area and current epicentre of its worst coronavirus outbreak to date.

Witnesses said soldiers were also delivering food to residents of the city and images broadcast by state media showed armed soldiers manning checkpoints and checking documents.

Vietnam implemented movement restrictions in Ho Chi Minh City in early July, but announced its harshest curbs last week as infections have continued to surge. Authorities have said that enforcement of recent curbs has not been sufficiently strict.