US-donated Moderna vaccines arrived in Việt Nam, jabs administered crosses 4 million mark

July 10, 2021 - 08:37

More than two million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine donated from the US Government to COVAX Facility arrived in Việt Nam early Saturday morning.


Vaccine batches being unloaded from the aircraft at Nội Bài International Airport this morning. — Photo from UNICEF Việt Nam

HÀ NỘI — More than two million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine donated by the US Government to COVAX Facility arrived in Việt Nam early Saturday morning.

The shipment, delivered by UNICEF, which handles procurement, supply and logistics of the vaccines from COVAX, landed at Nội Bài International Airport in Hà Nội on a Qatar Airways flight.

"Today’s shipment is part of the 80 million doses of vaccine that the President of the United States committed in May from the US vaccine supply, of which approximately 41 million doses are shared through COVAX, to support global needs," UNICEF said in a statement.

Speaking at a ceremony marking the arrival of the biggest single shipment of vaccines Việt Nam has received to date, Charge d’Affaires, Christopher Klein, said: “The shipment gives us hope that there is an end in sight to our fight against COVID-19.  It gives us hope that we will be able to return to our normal lives.” 

Việt Nam has had an internationally recognised COVID-19 response which managed to keep infections and deaths low throughout 2020 and early 2021. However, due to global supply constraints, the inoculation rate in the country remains low while the number of coronavirus infections has increased drastically in the last few weeks as the country battles an intense fourth wave.

The health ministry has said it has immediately sent 1 million doses from the batch to HCM City as the souhern city is dealing with serious outbreaks with caseload nearing 11,000 since late April.

“The UN welcomes the first US donation of COVID-19 vaccines via COVAX’s dose-sharing mechanism which arrived in Việt Nam," said Kamal Malhotra, the UN Resident Coordinator in Việt Nam.

“The clearest pathway out of the pandemic is equitable access to vaccinations for healthcare workers and priority groups such as the elderly and those with co-morbidities in every country. Dose donations are an immediate and urgent way to address this. We continue to call on well-supplied countries to donate doses now to protect those most at risk as soon as possible." 


A UNICEF member of staff with the vaccine shipment. — Photo from UNICEF Việt Nam

The US Government said it is committed to working with partners across the globe to end the public health and economic effects of the pandemic.

Through USAID, the United States has contributed US$2 billion to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to support the purchase and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to 92 low- and middle- income countries, and plans to commit another $2 billion by 2022, making the United States the largest financial donor to COVAX.

This contribution to COVAX is supporting equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for the world’s most vulnerable and at-risk populations, including frontline health care workers.  In Việt Nam, in addition to this vaccine donation, the United States has contributed more than $17.7 million in COVID-19 related assistance to the country since the start of the pandemic. 

In addition to today’s shipment, Việt Nam has previously received 2,493,200 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine via the COVAX Facility.  The COVAX Facility is co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO), Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovations (CEPI), GAVI - the Vaccine Alliance, and UNICEF as a key delivery partner.

As of July 9,4,010,786 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Việt Nam, or about 4 per cent of the population, according to the health ministry's Saturday report, and only 258,274 people have received the full two doses.

UNICEF added in their statement: "The additional vaccines will help the Ministry of Health to expand coverage and reach more people from priority groups, contributing to attaining the country’s target of vaccinating more than 70 per cent of population by the end of the first quarter of 2022."

"While the continuous arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility is encouraging, it will take some time for every priority group to be vaccinated. It is essential to continue 5K practices to reduce virus transmission: wear face masks, wash hands regularly, practice physical distancing, stop gathering and fill out health declaration." — VNS


Vaccine container at Nội Bài International Airport, Hà Nội. — Photo from World Health Organisation in Việt Nam