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Việt Nam receives ultra-cold freezers from the US to store Pfizer vaccines

The Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy Hà Nội, Christopher Klein (right) talks with Dr. Đặng Đức Anh, Director of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE) in front of the newly arrived ultra-cold freezers on Tuesday. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Quyết

HÀ NỘI — The US has delivered 36 ultra-low temperature freezers to the Ministry of Health at the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE) to assist Việt Nam in storing life-saving COVID-19 vaccines.

These freezers are the first of 111 ultra-low temperature, medical-grade storage units that the U.S. Department of Defence is providing to the Government of Việt Nam, with a total value of approximately US$1 million.

These freezers can reach between -40C to –90C and are suitable for storing vaccines that require extremely cold temperatures, such as the 3 million does of Pfizer vaccine that has arrived from the United States since October 2. Việt Nam’s purchase contract with the US company is to deliver 31 million doses within this year.

NIHE will keep 14 of the freezers for national-level distribution while 63 will be sent to regional distribution centres throughout the country.

The remaining 34 units were requested by the Pasteur Institute in HCM City City. The addition of these storage units will greatly improve Việt Nam’s capacity and flexibility in distributing and storing COVID-19 vaccines nationwide.

“The support of 9.5 million vaccine doses from the US through bilateral and COVAX mechanisms is a meaningful gesture to the Vietnamese Government and people in this challenging time,” Deputy Health Minister Trương Quốc Cường said at the symbolic handover ceremony held on Tuesday.

The Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy Hà Nội, Christopher Klein, said Việt Nam donated millions of protective items for the US people during the early days of the pandemic when there was a critical shortage of things like masks.

The US donation represented the hope that through cooperation, we could together overcome the pandemic, he said. — VNS