HANOI, May 31 (VnExpress) - Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc has written to U.S. President Joe Biden, seeking help for Vietnam to source Covid-19 vaccines and research and produce its own.

In the letter sent on Sunday, he said the pandemic is raging again in Vietnam and Southeast Asia, and the U.S. should not only enable access to vaccines but also transfer technology for Vietnam to produce them, a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Phuc hailed the U.S. for its recent contributions to the global fight against the pandemic community.

On May 17 Biden announced that by the end of June the U.S. would donate 80 million doses of vaccines after earlier pledging contributions of $4 billion to the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access, or Covax, a global initiative backed by the World Health Organization to ensure equitable access to vaccines.

Vietnam has so far received almost 2.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine via Covax out of the 38.9 million it has signed agreements for.

The Ministry of Health met last Friday with a Moderna distributor to discuss supply of the U.S. company’s Covid-19 vaccine to Vietnam in the shortest possible time.

It has received 464,000 doses from AstraZeneca through contracts, and signed a deal to buy 31 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this year.

The ministry has also allowed its Center for Research and Production of Vaccines and Biologicals (Polyvac) to buy an unknown number of doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.

Vietnam is in the grip of a new wave of Covid transmissions, which in the past month has caused more than 4,000 infections in 34 cities and provinces, including Hanoi, HCMC and Da Nang.