Vietnam's first batch of Covid-19 vaccine arrives from South Korea
Vietnam received the first batch of 117,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday ahead of the planned rollout of the Southeast Asian country's vaccination programme from next month.
The vaccines, which arrived at Ho Chi Minh City on a flight from South Korea, will be used to inoculate more than 50,000 people who are seen as high risk, the government said in a statement.
Deputy health minister, Truong Quoc Cuong, was at the airport to meet the consignment of vaccines flown in from Seoul, according to media.
South Korea's SK Bioscience has a plant that has been approved to manufacture the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The batch is part of 30 million doses that the Vietnam Vaccine Joint Stock Co., a company set up to handle vaccine import and distribution, will bring in, the government said.
Vietnam said on Tuesday health workers, diplomats and military personnel would be among the first to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Southeast Asian country with a population of 98 million has said it will receive 60 million vaccine doses this year, including half under the WHO-led COVAX scheme.
Vietnam was lauded globally for containing the virus for months using mass testing and strict quarantining, though has faced a recent new wave of infections.
The country has recorded 811 new COVID-19 cases since the latest outbreak started last month or about a third of its overall caseload of 2,403 infections since infections were first detected a year ago. Vietnam has reported 35 deaths due to the virus. (Reporting by Khanh Vu Editing by Ed Davies)