Vietnam has received the first shipment of 2 million doses of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine donated by the U.S. government, the American embassy in Hanoi said on Saturday, as the Southeast Asian country battles its worst outbreak.
The shipment, delivered via the COVAX sharing facility, is part of the 80 million vaccine doses President Joe Biden committed from U.S. vaccine supplies to support global needs, the embassy said in an emailed statement.
After successfully containing the coronavirus for much of the pandemic, Vietnam has since late April faced a more stubborn outbreak that has prompted calls for the government to accelerate inoculations.
The health ministry reported 1,625 new infections on Friday, the fifth straight day of more than 1,000 cases. Vietnam has recorded 26,600 infections overall and 110 deaths, which is still relatively low compared with European nations, India and the United States.
The majority of new cases in Vietnam are at the epicenter, Ho Chi Minh City, which began 15 days of broad movement restrictions on Friday, along with a few other cities.
State media stated on Saturday that half of the Moderna doses would be handed to the 9 million citizens of Ho Chi Minh City.
To date, Vietnam has received around 8 million vaccine doses, the majority of which came via the global COVAX sharing program. Although more than 4 million doses have been distributed, only about 258,000 people out of a total population of 98 million have received the vaccine.