First 204,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to be delivered in late February hinh anh 1AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine of the UK (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - The Drug Administration of Vietnam under the Ministry of Health has approved the import of the first 204,000 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine of the UK for emergency use.

This is the first batch of Vietnam’s order of 30 million doses of the vaccine bought directly from the manufacturer (with phased delivery throughout 2021), in addition to 4.88 million doses that the country is receiving under the WHO-led COVAX initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, especially for poor and developing countries.

The batch is expected to be delivered by AstraZeneca Vietnam on February 28.

The company is responsible for the origin, quality of the imported vaccine and the vaccine is used for the right purposes and in a safe and effective manner, the administration’s document approving the import noted.

Previously, Vietnamese health authorities have given emergency use approval for the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, the first COVID-19 vaccine to obtain such authorisation in the country.

Related agencies are still in talks with the company for larger supply to Vietnam to ensure inoculation for its near 100 million population.

Vietnam opted for the Oxford/Zeneca vaccine mostly because it could be stored at normal fridge temperatures of 2-8 degrees Celsius, instead of stringent super cold storage conditions like its Moderna and Pfizer counterparts, according to Le Van Truyen, Chairman of the Advisory Council for the Granting of Drug Registration Numbers.

The company has also cooperated with several countries in Europe and Asia to produce the vaccines, Truyen said.

Vietnam has one locally-made COVID-19 vaccine, Nanocovax, in the second phase human trials, with another expected to start at the end of February.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at a recent cabinet meeting has said that importing COVID-19 vaccines must be considered “the highest priority of the Government,” as the country is battling its biggest wave of community infections, that has recorded over 700 cases since January 27./.