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Vietnam details priorities for first phase of COVID-19 vaccinations

Vietnam details priorities for first phase of COVID-19 vaccinations

A health worker takes a sample for a COVID-19 test from a journalist in preparation for the 13th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam, Jan 18, 2021. (File photo: REUTERS/Kham)

HANOI: Vietnam's government said on Tuesday (Feb 23) health workers, diplomats and military personnel would be among the first to be vaccinated against COVID-19 when the country starts its inoculation programme next month.

The country with a population of 98 million said it will receive 60 million vaccine doses this year, including half under the World Health Organization-led COVAX scheme.

READ: Vietnam says COVAX to supply 30 million COVID-19 vaccine doses in 2021

In the first quarter of 2021, Vietnam aims to inoculate 500,000 medical staff and 116,000 others directly involved in the fight against the pandemic, the government said in a statement.

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.

Late last month, Vietnam approved the AstraZeneca vaccine for emergency use days after the country detected the first locally transmitted cases in nearly two months.

READ: Vietnam confirms latest COVID-19 outbreak is caused by more contagious UK variant

The government said previously it was in talks with Russian and US vaccine manufacturers on potential supply agreements, while it expects a home-grown vaccine to be ready for domestic inoculation by May.

In the second quarter, Vietnam plans to vaccinate 1.8 million more people, including 9,200 customs officials, 4,080 diplomats, 1.03 million military personnel, 304,000 police officers and 550,000 teachers, the government said.

The country intends for 16 million to be vaccinated by the end of the third quarter, including 7.6 million people over the age of 65, the government said.

Vietnam has recorded 803 new COVID-19 cases since the latest outbreak started last month, or about a third of its overall caseload of 2,395 infections since infections were first detected a year ago. Vietnam has reported 35 deaths due to the virus.

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Source: Reuters/dv

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