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Vietnam to Receive 1st Batch of Oxford Covid-19 Vaccine Doses This Sunday

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Viet Nam News reports that the Drug Administration of Vietnam has approved the importation of 200,400 doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. This is a small part of the 30 million doses ordered by the Vietnamese government, which are expected to be delivered in phases through the rest of this year.

Vietnam will also received 4.9 million vaccine doses through the COVAX initiative, potentially by the end of this month. COVAX is a shorthand for COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, a coalition led by the World Health Organization aiming to provide equitable vaccine access to developing nations.

According the news source, the batch of 200,400 doses will arrive on February 28, produced by a South Korean pharmaceutical firm called SK Bioscience. AstraZeneca's Vietnam branch, meanwhile, is responsible for ensuring the quality of the doses and that they are administered correctly.

Front-line health and quarantine workers will make up the bulk of the first 5 million people in Vietnam to receive their first vaccine jab through the combined COVAX and AstraZeneca shipments. These individuals will receive their second booster shot in three months when another batch of doses is delivered. Vaccination will officially start in March.

Negotiations are ongoing to secure enough doses to eventually vaccinate Vietnam's entire population. Officials have chosen the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine because it doesn't need to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures like the Pfizer vaccine, making it easier for less well-equipped medical facilities to receive doses.

Two domestically designed COVID-19 vaccines are currently in early human trial stages in Vietnam, but they are not expected to be available until later this year at the earliest.

[Photo via Flickr user Marco Verch Professional Photographer]

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