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UPDATE 1-Vietnam approves Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

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HANOI, June 12 (Reuters) - Vietnam has approved the COVID-19 vaccine jointly made by Pfizer and BioNTech for domestic emergency use, the government said on Saturday.

It is the fourth vaccine to be endorsed in the Southeast Asian country that is tackling a new outbreak.

Vietnam, which has previously approved the AstraZeneca vaccine, Russia's Sputnik V and China's Sinopharm vaccine, said it is seeking to procure 31 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech version for delivery in the next quarter.

Vietnam is trying to accelerate its vaccine procurement drive to tackle a more stubborn wave of infections, even though its overall case load and fatality numbers remain relatively low.

The health ministry also said on Saturday it was in talks with an unidentified U.S. manufacturer to producer a one-dose vaccine with a view to producing 100 million-200 million shots per year.

Vietnam, with a population of around 98 million, has recorded a total of 10,241 coronavirus cases, with 58 deaths, since the pandemic began. Its domestic inoculation started in March.

At least 1.4 million people in Vietnam have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 53,127 have been fully vaccinated, according to official data. (Reporting by Phuong Nguyen; Editing by Toby Chopra and Mike Harrison)

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