The U.S. has agreed to provide Vietnam $4.5 million to enhance its Covid-19 vaccination drive and related medical capabilities, the Health Ministry said Wednesday.
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At a Tuesday meeting with Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) said 77 freezers for storing vaccines should arrive in Vietnam by September. These freezers were previously promised to Vietnam during a July visit by the U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
Vietnam is in much need of more Covid-19 vaccine sources, said Long. While Vietnam has managed to sign contracts to purchase 31 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and is negotiating another 20 million doses, about 47 million doses would only arrive in the country in the fourth quarter, he added.
Long said he hopes USAID could persuade the U.S. government to let Vietnam receive the vaccines either within August or September.
The health ministry is also establishing large ICUs in Ho Chi Minh City and certain southern localities to combat Covid-19 outbreaks. It is proposing USAID and the U.S. CDC provide ventilators, oxygen tanks and other medical equipment to treat severe coronavirus cases and prevent deaths, said Long.
Since the fourth coronavirus wave started on April 27, 177,804 local cases have been recorded in 62 of Vietnam’s 63 cities and provinces, with HCMC accounting for the most, 108,379, followed by its neighbor Binh Duong, an industrial hub, with 22,053.