|UNICEF Representative in Việt Nam Rana Flowers holds a tray of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine vials being stored at the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology. The US has donated to Việt Nam two million Pfizer shots through COVAX mechanism in the past two weeks. UNICEF is key delivery partner of COVAX Facility. — Photo courtesy of UNICEF in Việt Nam
HÀ NỘI — The US has delivered to Việt Nam 1,999,530 shots of Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine as a donation through COVAX in the past two weeks to assist the country’s pandemic fight.
These vaccine doses were delivered by COVAX directly from Pfizer's manufacturing plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan, according to a statement from the US Embassy in Việt Nam on Wednesday.
A total of 1,209,780 doses arrived in two deliveries to HCM City on October 7 and October 8 and a total of 789,750 doses arrived in two deliveries to Hà Nội on October 8 and October 13.
Previously, the US donated 7.5 million doses to Việt Nam in four COVAX deliveries.
The latest shipments brought the total donations from the US to Việt Nam to 9.5 million, making it the largest vaccine donor to Việt Nam so far, followed by Japan (nearly 3.6 million doses of AstraZeneca), China (3.5 million doses of Sinopharm’s Vero Cell), and Germany (3.45 million doses of AstraZeneca).
“The United States and Việt Nam continue to build on our longstanding cooperation with nearly US$1 billion US Government investment in Việt Nam’s health infrastructure to strengthen Việt Nam’s capacity to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the US has committed more than $26.7 million in COVID-19 related assistance to Việt Nam since the start of the pandemic,” the embassy statement reads.
More vaccine donations from the US to Việt Nam are planned, according to the US embassy.
On Tuesday, the health ministry’s National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology in Hà Nội held a ceremony to receive 77 ultra-low temperature freezers donated by the US meant to store mRNA vaccines like Moderna and Pfizer, especially with the majority of Việt Nam’s order for 51 million Pfizer shots expected in the final quarter of the year and early next year.
These freezers are the first of 111 medical-grade storage units that the US Department of Defense is providing to the Government of Việt Nam, with a total value of approximately US$1 million.
The same day, Vietnamese President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc sent a letter to his US counterpart Joe Biden thanking the US Government for helping Việt Nam with vaccines, medicine and medical supplies and equipment to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
President Phúc appreciates the efforts made by the Biden administration to support countries in the world in containing COVID-19 outbreaks and overcoming the difficulties brought by the pandemic.
He expressed a wish that the US would continue to assist Việt Nam in the fight against the pandemic, and that the US-based Pfizer would fulfil their contract of delivery of 31 million doses within 2021, as well as an additional 20 million that the Vietnamese health ministry wants to reserve for children aged 12-18 years old, as the company had committed during his visit to the company’s headquarters in New York last September.
Việt Nam to date has administered nearly 56 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, with over 16 million people having been fully inoculated.
Fifty-five per cent of people aged 18 and above has received at least one dose of vaccine, according to the health ministry.
The localities with highest first-dose coverage are mostly outbreak hot spots in the south like Long An (100 per cent), Khánh Hòa (99 per cent), HCM City (98.8 per cent), Đồng Nai (99 per cent), Bình Dương (96.7 per cent), along with the capital city of Hà Nội (95.4 per cent). — VNS