Vaccine containers at Nội Bài International Airport in Hà Nội on Wednesday morning. — Photo from the Ministry of Health
HÀ NỘI — The first shipment of 97,110 doses of Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines arrived at Nội Bài International Airport in Hà Nội on Wednesday morning.
Vietnamese deputy health minister Trương Quốc Cường, Christopher Klein, Chargé d'Affaires, of the US Embassy in Hà Nội, and John Paul Pullicino, Country Manager and Chief Representative at Pfizer Việt Nam, were at the airport for the reception ceremony for the first vaccine batch.
In total in the 31 million doses will be supplied to Việt Nam in 2021.
More shipments of Pfizer vaccines to Việt Nam in subsequent weeks to ensure that Việt Nam will receive three million doses in the third quarter, while the delivery of the remaining 28 million doses will be fulfilled in the final quarter.
The mRNA vaccine, with product name Cominarty, was given conditional authorisation for emergency use in Việt Nam by health authorities on June 12, 2021.
At the ceremony, Cường said that from September last year, when Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was in phase 3 of human trials, the Vietnamese health ministry and Pfizer had started talks to supply Việt Nam.
After more than 20 meetings over the past 10 months, the two sides concluded the agreement on vaccine supply on June 7, 2021.
The Vietnamese health ministry thanked Pfizer for providing training and guidance to readily receive and use its COVID-19 vaccine, Cường said.
“One month after signing the deal, we are here today to gladly receive the first shipment of the vaccine, marking a significant milestone in the cooperation between two sides to bring Corminaty vaccines manufactured by Pfizer/BioNTech to the Vietnamese people, to aid the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” the health official noted.
He urged Pfizer to ensure its delivery schedule of 31 million doses within this year, and consider supplying another 20 million doses as well as the possibility of vaccine production technology transfer in the future.
Cường added: “The Ministry of Health is tasked by the Government to purchase, import, receive and use COVID-19 vaccines, we are committed to implementing the COVID-19 vaccination campaign for Vietnamese people in a safe manner, without wasting doses, in a bid to achieve herd immunity.”
Christopher Klein, stressed that the delivery is a signal of hope, that working together can overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, protect the economy and bring people’s lives back to normal.
Also according to the diplomat, the US’ top priority at the moment is fighting the pandemic – having committed billions of US dollars to the COVAX Facility and donated millions of vaccine doses to many countries.
He also confirmed that two million doses of Moderna COVID-19 as donation from the US Government will arrive in Việt Nam soon.
The Pfizer representative said the company has been “committed to working with central Governments and supra-national organisations towards the shared goal of equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for everyone, no matter where they are in the world.”
“The vaccine doses will advance our response against COVID-19 and help the people in Việt Nam in the recovery from the pandemic,” John Paul Pullicino said, adding that he applauds the Government of Việt Nam and his colleagues “who have been working tirelessly to make this historic milestone happen.”
The US pharmaceutical company said in a statement that it would continue to collaborate with the authorities and remain committed to ensuring smooth delivery and deployment of its vaccine in Việt Nam's immunisation programme.
Representatives from the Vietnamese health ministry, Pfizer, and US embassy at the handover ceremony. — Photo from the Ministry of Health
The vaccine batch has been transported by specialised cold chain equipments to be kept at the cold storages at the National Institute Of Hygiene And Epidemiology in Hà Nội.
The vaccines will likely be allocated to the localities with worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the ongoing severe fourth wave of infections that have seen national caseload topping 20,000 and daily case count jumping by four-digit figure in the past two days. — VNS