Vietnam has received the first shipment of 2 million doses of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine donated by the US government, the American embassy in Hanoi said on Saturday (Jul 10), as the country battles its worst outbreak.
The shipment, delivered via the COVAX sharing facility, is part of the 80 million vaccine doses President Joe Biden committed from US vaccine supplies to support global needs, the embassy said in an emailed statement.
After successfully containing the coronavirus for much of the pandemic, Vietnam has since late April faced a more stubborn outbreak that has prompted calls for the government to accelerate inoculations.
The health ministry reported 1,853 new infections on Saturday, the sixth straight day of more than 1,000 cases, and exceeding Friday's record of 1,625. Vietnam has recorded 27,863 infections in total and 112 deaths, figures that are still low compared with some European nations, India and the United States.
Most of Vietnam's new cases are in epicentre Ho Chi Minh City, which on Friday - along with some other cities - began 15 days of broad movement restrictions.
State media reports said on Saturday that half of the Moderna doses would be funnelled to Ho Chi Minh City's 9 million people.
Vietnam has so far received around 8 million vaccine doses, mostly under the international COVAX sharing facility.
More than 4 million doses have been administered, but only about 258,000 people have been fully vaccinated out of its total population of 98 million.
The health ministry said on Friday it aimed to vaccinate 50 per cent of people aged 18 or older by the end of the year and 70 per cent by the end of March 2022.