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Vietnam approves Cuba’s Abdala vaccine as Delta variant outbreak continues

Abdala becomes eighth Covid-19 vaccine approved for use in Vietnam, which has one of the region’s lowest vaccination rates, with just 6.3% of its 98 million people having received at least two vaccines .

The announcement came hours after President Nguyen Xuan Phuc left Hanoi for an official visit to Havana.

Vietnam has recorded 667,650 coronavirus infections and 16,637 deaths – the vast majority of which were part of the outbreak caused by Delta that began in late April.

“The Ministry of Health has approved (the) Abdala vaccine, based on the country’s urgent need for its fight against Covid-19,” the government said in a statement.

The ministry said last month that Cuba would supply large quantities of Abdala to Vietnam and transfer production technology by the end of the year.

Vietnam and Cuba are among the last five communist countries in the world, along with China, Laos and North Korea.

In July, Vietnam urged the United States to end its “policy of hostility” towards Cuba and lift its long-standing trade embargo after rare anti-government protests on the island.