Vietnam says Cuba to supply COVID-19 vaccine, transfer technology

HANOI (Reuters) – Cuba will ship large quantities of its home-grown COVID-19 vaccine Abdala to Vietnam by the end of the year and also transfer the production technology to the Southeast Asian country, the Vietnamese Ministry of Health announced on Tuesday.

After successfully containing the disease for much of the pandemic, Vietnam struggled to control its worst outbreak to date, with a surge in infections and deaths putting pressure on authorities to speed up vaccinations.

“Cuba will be sending large numbers of COVID cans and a team to Vietnam by the end of this year to aid technology transfer,” the Ministry of Health said in a statement, without specifying the number of cans.

Cuba has said its triple Abdala vaccine was 92.28% effective against the coronavirus in clinical trials in June in the final phase.

Vietnam has so far signed technology transfer agreements for recombinant DNA proteins and mRNA vaccines and is also in talks with US company Pfizer about setting up a vaccine factory in the country.

The Southeast Asian country has secured more than 23 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines and expects to receive at least 50 million doses in the fourth quarter, the health ministry said.

Vietnam’s vaccination program, which started in March, is still at an early stage. Only 1.9% of the country’s 98 million people are fully vaccinated – one of the lowest rates in the region.

(Adaptation by Ed Davies)