|The first batch of nearly 100,000 doses of Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Việt Nam on July 7, 2021, at Nội Bài International Airport, Hà Nội. — Photo from the Ministry of Health|
HÀ NỘI — The Vietnamese health ministry and Pfizer have reached an initial agreement on a deal for another 20 million doses of Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to be used specifically for children aged between 12 and 18 years old.
The deal was reached during a meeting on Wednesday between health minister Nguyễn Thanh Long and Pfizer Việt Nam Country Manager and Chief Representative John Paul Pullicino.
Việt Nam has about 9 million children in this group.
The Pfizer representative said the company is committed to bringing 20 million doses to Việt Nam within the fourth quarter of 2021 to serve the country’s inoculation efforts, which the ministry considers a good sign in the current global shortage.
This is on top of the 31 million doses the health ministry agreed with Pfizer in May.
For this contract, Pfizer said it would fulfil the delivery of one million doses to Việt Nam within July, 3.4 million in August and September, and the remaining 27 million doses would be delivered in the last three months of the year.
However, the health minister is urging the company to spread out the delivery and distribute more doses within the third quarter, both to respond to the current ongoing severe fourth wave of infections in Việt Nam (reaching over 33,000 cases since late April) and to alleviate the pressure on the vaccination workers in the final quarter in dealing with such a large amount of vaccines arriving in such a short time frame.
At the meeting, the two sides also discussed vaccine manufacturing technology transfer to Việt Nam or placing a vaccine manufacturing plant within the country.
Pfizer Việt Nam’s representative pledged to make efforts to prioritise delivery of the vaccine according to the schedule in the signed agreement and continue to study the use of vaccinations for younger children and pregnant women.
The two sides will also work closely to ensure that the COVID-19 vaccine is used most effectively in Việt Nam.
Pullicino said he would discuss the technology transfer issues and manufacturing plant in Việt Nam with Pfizer, and would respond at the earliest time.
Việt Nam approved Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, product name Comirnaty, for emergency use on June 12, 2021.
The health ministry has issued its allocation plan of the one million doses of the vaccine delivered in July, with HCM City receiving the most. — VNS