Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, May 26 (EFE).- Vietnam will try to acquire 150 million Covid-19 vaccine doses before 2022 to vaccinate three-quarters of its population, which in recent weeks has seen the worst wave of local infections since the start of the pandemic.
“We started negotiations very early, in May 2020. Now we are trying to get 150 million doses by the end of the year,” Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said in a statement reported Wednesday by state newspaper Viet Nam News.
So far, the country’s health authorities have inoculated just over 1 million people out of a population of 96 million, placing it at the bottom of Southeast Asia, behind neighbors such as Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia or Thailand, with similar resources.
Vietnam has so far received 2.6 million doses from Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical AstraZeneca, but vaccination is being slow, with priority initially for medical staff.
In addition, authorities in Hanoi are negotiating with the Russian pharmaceutical company Gamaleya to produce the Sputnik V vaccine in its own territory, by two indigenous companies.
The most advanced, of the Nanogen company, has entered its third phase of tests and if everything goes according to plan, will start mass production from August, which would be a boost for the notable Vietnamese pharmaceutical industry.
The minister’s announcement came on the same day Vietnam recorded its highest number of community infections in a single day, 444 cases, most of them in two northern provinces of the country with numerous industrial parks that have become hotbeds of contagion.
The figures for Tuesday almost tripled the previous record of 187 community infections registered on May 16, which led the minister to say that “this time the pandemic could last longer” than on previous occasions, when authorities managed to eradicate waves in a few weeks.
Since the fourth wave of the country began on Apr. 27, Vietnam has registered 2,793 community infections out of a total of 5,931 since the beginning of the pandemic, causing 44 deaths in total. EFE