Vietnam in talks with US to produce mRNA COVID-19 vaccine

HANOI (CNA) – Vietnam is in talks with the United States (US) to locally produce mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, its foreign ministry said yesterday, as the Southeast Asian country looks to shore up its vaccine supply amid its worst outbreak of the coronavirus yet.

After successfully containing the virus for much of the pandemic, Vietnam is facing a surge in record daily infections, with some areas in the country’s south, including Ho Chi Minh City, under lockdown.

Local production of the unidentified mRNA vaccine could begin in the fourth quarter of this year or early 2022, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said at a regular press briefing.

The deal could see Vietnam produce 100 million to 200 million doses of the vaccine a year,
she added.

Vietnam will receive an additional three million shots of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine on July 25 from the US via the global COVAX vaccine scheme, said Hang.

Hanoi is keen to boost its vaccine capacity.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said in May it was reviewing a proposal by an unidentified manufacturer in Vietnam to become an mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine technology hub.

A woman receives a shot of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Hanoi, Vietnam. PHOTO: AP