HANOI - Vietnam has received a shipment of 500,000 Sinopharm vaccine doses donated by China, the health ministry said on Sunday, as the country is ramping up inoculations to battle against a more widespread outbreak.
The Southeast Asian nation approved China's Sinopharm vaccine for emergency use against COVID-19 in early June.
The vaccines will be used for three groups: Chinese citizens in Vietnam, Vietnamese who have plan to work or study in China and people who live near the borders with China, the health ministry said in a statement.
Vietnam's domestic inoculation programme, which started in March, has so far relied heavily on around 4 million shots of AstraZeneca's vaccine.
Nearly 2.4 million people in Vietnam have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 115,315 have been fully vaccinated, according to official data.
The country of 98 million also received a batch of nearly one million AstraZenca doses of vaccine donated by the Japanese government on June 16.
Vietnam is tackling a more stubborn wave of infections. The country's business hub, Ho Chi Minh City on Sunday banned public gatherings of more than three people and imposed lockdown orders on some virus-prone areas.
Vietnam's latest outbreak, which includes the highly transmissible Delta coronavirus variant, has accounted for about 75% of its overall cases during the pandemic, with 9,849 infections and 31 fatalities since late April.
(Reporting by Phuong Nguyen, editing by Louise Heavens)