HO CHI MINH CITY – Last Friday Vietnam received 30,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine transferred from Papua New Guinea through the COVAX program, ostensibly to help combat Covid-19.
Nguyen Tat Thanh, Vietnam ambassador to Papua New Guinea, said the shipment was delivered to Vietnam on the basis of a government-level agreement on vaccine transfer recently signed between Vietnam, Papua New Guinea and the vaccine alliance, GAVI.
The vaccines, originally sourced from New Zealand donations, could not be used in PNG before they expired due to the local people’s hesitation to get vaccinated.
The vaccines were channeled to Vietnam with assistance from the World Health Organisation and UNICEF.
Grabbing the chance, ambassador Thanh contacted John Ma'o Kali, High Commissioner for Papua New Guinea in Australia and requested that PNG urgently transfer the vaccines to Vietnam.
New Zealand and multilateral institutions will deliver further vaccines to PNG if they are needed.
Australia is actively supporting Vietnam in responding to the pandemic.
It is committed to deliver 1.5 million doses of AstraZeneca this year and has pledged to provide $40 million (K100 million) to help Vietnam access vaccines over the next three years.