Vietnam says in talks with U.S. to produce mRNA COVID-19 vaccine
HANOI (Reuters) - Vietnam is in talks with the United States to locally produce mRNA vaccines, its foreign ministry said on Thursday, 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 100-200 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 United States via the global COVAX vaccine scheme, said Hang.
Hanoi is keen to boost its vaccine capacity.
The World Health Organization said in May it was reviewing a proposal by an unidentified manufacturer in Vietnam to become an mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine technology hub.
(Editing by James Pearson)
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