Vietnam receives over 800,000 AstraZeneca doses through COVAX

Vietnam received 811,200 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Thursday morning, marking the first time the country has received vaccine doses through the international COVAX initiative, state media reported on Thursday.

"These vaccines will be a game-changer and a critical new tool in the battle against Covid-19 in Vietnam in its already successful efforts to win this battle," Kamal Malhotra, the head of the United Nations in Vietnam, told dpa.

Following their arrival at Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport on Thursday morning, the doses were transferred to the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology where they will be stored before being offered to priority patients.

The South-East Asian nation said it expects to receive at least 60 million vaccine doses in 2021, 30 million of which will be provided through the World Health Organization's COVAX initiative.

Vietnam received its first vaccines in late February when 117,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, approved for use in the country in early January, arrived at Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat Airport.

Vietnam began offering Covid-19 vaccinations in March, with front-line health workers and vulnerable citizens first on the list.

Thanks to decisive early action and strict testing and quarantine measures, Vietnam stands out as a global success story in its response to the coronavirus pandemic. To date, the nation has recorded just 2,603 coronavirus cases and 35 deaths.

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