First Australian-funded children’s COVID-19 vaccine batch arrives in Vietnam

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First Australian-funded children’s COVID-19 vaccine batch arrives in Vietnam

This image shows a student receiving a COVID-19 vaccine shot in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

The first shipment of 921,600 Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses donated by the Australian government for Vietnamese children aged 5 to under 12 arrived in Hanoi on Friday, according to the Australian Embassy in Vietnam.

“Australia has committed to share more than 7.2 million COVID-19 paediatric doses with Vietnam,” the embassy said on its verified Facebook account on Saturday.

“The first delivery of 921,600 doses arrived at Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport last night and the rest will be delivered over the next few weeks.”

These doses are aimed at supporting Vietnam’s COVID-19 containment efforts by expanding vaccination coverage to protect younger people in the Southeast Asian country.

“This commitment is in addition to 7.8 million doses already shared and Australia’s comprehensive AUD60 million [US$44.6 million] package of COVID-19 vaccine support for Vietnam,” the embassy added.

The second and third batches of the Moderna vaccine donation will be sent to Vietnam by April 13 and 18, respectively, according to Nguoi Lao Dong (Laborer) newspaper.

These vaccine shots are expected to be used to inoculate children in that age group on April 15 after the vaccine appraisal process is complete.

Vietnam has over 10 million children aged five to under 12, who are most susceptible to COVID-19 as they have yet to be vaccinated, and 20 percent of them have been infected with COVID-19 so far, according to official figures.

At a recent meeting with local authorities nationwide, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh requested that the COVID-19 immunization of these children be completed within the second quarter of this year.

On February 5, the government issued a resolution on the buying of 21.9 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children from five to under 12 years old.

Vietnam has so far received over 230 million doses of vaccine and administered some 208.2 million shots, according to the Ministry of Health.

The country is among those with the highest COVID-19 vaccine coverage rates in the world, with both first and second vaccine doses reaching 100 percent the adult population, and third shot coverage topping 50.8 percent, the ministry reported on Saturday.

Health workers have administered 191,235,861 COVID-19 vaccine doses to the adult population, including 71,380,925 first shots, 68,483,665 second jabs, and the rest for additional primary doses and boosters since vaccination was rolled out in March 2020.

Vietnam, with a population of 98 million people, has documented 10,169,929 COVID-19 infections, with 8,497,532 recoveries and 42,794 fatalities, since the pandemic erupted in the Southeast Asian country in early 2020, the health ministry’s data shows.

The number of Pfizer-BioNTech doses given to children aged 12 to 17 nationwide has reached 17,224,951, including 8,821,673 first shots and 8,403,278 second jabs, said the ministry.

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