The vaccine containers are unloaded from the plane at Nội Bài International Airport in Hà Nội Wednesday night. — Photo from the Ministry of Health
HÀ NỘI — One million doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines donated by the Japanese Government arrived at Nội Bài International Airport in Hà Nội late Wednesday night.
Vietnamese health minister Nguyễn Thanh Long, Vietnamese deputy foreign minister Nguyễn Minh Vũ, and Japanese ambassador to Việt Nam Yamada Takio were at the airport to meet the delivery.
Health minister Long said: “We are happy to receive the vaccine shipment as donation by the Japanese Government,” adding that this gift is an example of the flourishing relations between Japan and Việt Nam, especially amid complicated developments of the pandemic and critical shortages of vaccines on a global scale.
Việt Nam is committed to effectively use of the vaccine as soon as possible, Long said, adding that 800,000 doses would be sent to HCM City on Thursday morning to inoculate the people and workers in the southern city – which is currently battling its most serious COVID-19 outbreaks ever with more than 1,000 cases recorded since late May. Meanwhile, 200,000 doses would go to two hot spots in the north, Bắc Giang and Bắc Ninh provinces.
Japanese ambassador Yamada Takio said the donation is a testament of the “profound friendship” between Japan and Việt Nam, as well as Japan’s wish to connect with the international community, especially with Việt Nam, to overcome the pandemic.
The Air Japan flight departed from Narita International Airport in Tokyo at 6:45pm Wednesday, carrying temperature-controlled shipping containers to maintain 2-8 degrees Celsius, the ideal storage condition for AstraZeneca vaccines.
During the meeting with the Japanese ambassador on Tuesday, Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính thanked the Japanese Government for the donation following his phone call with Japanese counterpart Suga Yoshihide.
Việt Nam is experiencing a serious surge of new infections, while vaccine supplies remains limited with deliveries from secured agreements and orders concentrated to arrive in the later quarter of the year. Other than the newly arrived 1 million doses, the country has received only 2.5 million doses from COVAX initiative (out of the 38.9 million doses commitment) and more than 400,000 doses out of 30 million dose deal with AstraZeneca itself. — VNS
First from left: Japanese ambassador Yamada Takeo and Vietnamese health minister Nguyễn Thanh Long at the reception ceremony of the 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines donated by the Japanese Government. — Photo from the Ministry of Health