HCMC – Donacoop, a private property developer in the southern Vietnamese province of Dong Nai, has been given the green light to import 15 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine which might be delivered by the middle of next month.
In an official letter released by the Government Office, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh urged the Ministry of Health to streamline procedures for the Dong Nai Union of General Agricultural Service Cooperatives (Donacoop) to import the U.S.-made Covid-19 vaccine.
Donacoop has reached an agreement with Pfizer to import about 15 million doses of the vaccine, the company’s general director Bui Thanh Truc was quoted by the local media as saying.
He added that the American biopharmaceutical company already has a sufficient vaccine supply ready for delivery to Donacoop in two shipments by September 15.
Donacoop is waiting for the Health Ministry to give approval so that the vaccine can be shipped to the Southeast Asian country early next month, according to the director.
The doses will then be used in Dong Nai and shared with neighboring southeastern provinces and cities, such as HCMC, Binh Duong and Ba Ria-Vung Tau, which are suffering the brunt of the public health crisis.
In an effort to expedite the country’s inoculation drive caught in the crosswinds of vaccine supply shortages, the Vietnamese prime minister has repeatedly called for local governments and companies to find all possible ways to import Covid-19 vaccines themselves.
The health ministry is, in the meanwhile, in charge of vaccine licensing, quality control, storage and administration.
In a bid to inoculate around 70% of its population of more than 98 million, Vietnam has so far got over 16.3 million people vaccinated with a first dose and nearly 2.14 million others with two doses.
The country has reported more than 388,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and over 9,600 deaths, or 2.5% of the total infections, since the onset of the pandemic.
The highly contagious Delta variant has largely been to blame for the spike in Covid-19 deaths, the ratio between confirmed deaths and infections, which was, as of Thursday, 0.4% higher than the world’s average Covid-19 death rate.
By Thanh Thom