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Vietnam in talks to secure COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna

FILE PHOTO: Test tubes are seen in front of a displayed Moderna logo in this illustration taken, May 21, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnam’s health ministry is in talks to secure COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna through its distribution partner in Asia, Zuellig Pharma, as the country battles a new outbreak that is spreading more quickly.

Vietnam has placed orders for more vaccines from several suppliers and received around 2.9 million doses from its purchases and via the international COVAX scheme.

Health minister Nguyen Thanh Long asked Zuellig Pharma to supply Moderna vaccines to Vietnam as soon as possible so the country can cope with the pandemic effectively, Vietnam’s health ministry said in a statement on Friday.

After successfully containing the new coronavirus for most of last year, Vietnam is now battling an outbreak which includes the highly transmissible B.1.1.7 variant and B.1.617.2 variant.

Vietnam has registered 6,396 coronavirus cases so far, half of which were recorded in the latest outbreak.

At least 1.04 million people in Vietnam have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, but only 28,529 have been fully vaccinated, according to official data.

Reporting by Phuong Nguyen; Editing by Hugh Lawson