HANOI, Vietnam (AP) – Vietnam on Monday deployed its first COVID-19 doses to those on the front line who have made the nation relatively successful in controlling the epidemic: health workers, communications spies and quarantine security forces.
The country of 96 million people in Southeast Asia aims to vaccinate at least half of the population by the end of the year.
Thousands of doctors, nurses and technicians working in hospitals designed to treat COVID-19 patients lined up in the morning to receive the first strokes of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“I have been waiting for this day for a long time,” said Nurse Nguyen T. Huen after receiving the injection. Huien cared for COVID-19 patients at one of HONI’s tropical hospitals last year. Health records, among other challenges, limited his time with his family. “I hope the vaccine will be available to everyone so that we can contain the virus and return to normal life,” he said.
The first batch of 30 million doses of the vaccine, over 100,000 doses, produced by Oxford University Ast UK-based AstraZeneca, arrived two weeks ago. Separately, Vietnam expects to provide 30 million doses of the same vaccine through COVAX, a UN-backed initiative designed to make vaccines available to low- and middle-income countries.
According to the Ministry of Health, it is also negotiating with Pfizer for 30 million doses.
The next group to be vaccinated after the first COVID-19 respondents will be diplomats, primary care workers, teachers, the elderly and people with chronic illnesses.
COVID-19 2512 cases were registered in Vietnam, which is a low number compared to other countries. Despite a new outbreak in the two northern states in January, it was able to stem the spread of the virus and restart business.