HANOI, July 20 (Reuters) – Vietnam said on Tuesday it has reached agreements on technology transfers for Russian and U.S. coronavirus vaccines.
The Southeast Asian nation is keen to boost its vaccine capacity. The World Health Organization said in May it was reviewing a proposal by an unidentified manufacturer in Vietnam to become an mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine technology hub.
Vietnam’s health ministry was also in talks with Russia to produce the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, media has reported.
In a statement on Tuesday, Vietnam also said it will receive 20 million more doses of the mRNA shot co-developed by U.S. company Pfizer (PFE.N) and Germany’s BioNTech (22UAy.DE), raising the total to 51 million doses.
After successfully containing the virus for much of the pandemic, Vietnam is facing its worst outbreak so far, with a surge in daily infections to record levels adding to pressure on the government to shore up supplies and accelerate inoculations.
Vietnam’s health ministry reported 4,795 new infections on Tuesday, up from 4,195 cases on Monday. The country has recorded 62,820 infections and 334 deaths overall.
Up to now, Vietnam has secured deals for 105 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines and is in talks with other manufacturers on deals for a further 70 million shots, the government said, adding it hoped to receive the shots in 2021 and early 2022.
Vietnam has received around 10.6 million doses of vaccines, and is due to receive supplies of Moderna’s (MRNA.O) vaccine from the United States via the COVAX facility.
It has also asked China for doses of the Sinopharm vaccine, the government statement added.
Vietnam’s health ministry said the country’s home-grown vaccine, NanoCovax, was expected to be widely administered by the end of 2021.
About 4.3 million COVID-19 doses have been administered in Vietnam so far, but only about 310,000 people have been fully vaccinated out of a population of 98 million.
Editing by Ed Davies and Paul Simao
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