Vietnam sets up vaccine fund amid biggest outbreak of COVID-19

·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: Testing for COVID-19 during the 13th national congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam, in Hanoi

HANOI (Reuters) - Vietnam's government on Wednesday approved the creation of a special fund to drive an effective vaccination programme against COVID-19 as the country battles its largest outbreak of the new coronavirus.

The fund "will be responsible for arranging financial resources and materials for the procurement, production and the use of vaccines", the government said in a statement.

It made no mention of the size of the fund, but the Finance Ministry had said last week Vietnam intended to earmark $1.1 billion to acquire 150 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for its population.

After successfully containing the coronavirus for most of last year, Vietnam is now battling a new outbreak that is spreading more quickly, infecting more than 3,000 people in 30 of its 63 cities and provinces since late April.

The Ministry of Health reported 235 new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, raising the known total number in the Southeast Asian country to 6,086, with 45 deaths.

Vietnam, with a population of around 98 million, began its vaccination campaign in March. It has so far received nearly 2.9 million doses of vaccines and around 1 million have been administered.

The government said the new fund could seek contributions from private organisations and individuals for its operations.

(Reporting by Khanh Vu; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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