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5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses set to be available in Vietnam late February

Jasmine Le Jasmine Le

lehang1997hanu@gmail.com

February 16, 2021 | 15:15

The batch, inclusive of 4.9 million from WHO’s GAVI program and 100,000 imported doses will be available for inoculation in Vietnam by late February, Deputy Health Minister Truong Quoc Cuong said on February 15.

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Deputy Health Minister Truong Quoc Cuong (Photo: VNE)

Accordingly, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has basically completed the procedures for receiving vaccines from the global initiative known as COVAX. The Ministry also proactively negotiates and imports vaccine. If everything goes as planned, 5 million Vietnamese citizens would get the first injection and the second one 3 months later. Vietnam is currently having 2-5 million individuals prioritized for the vaccination, including front-line workers and elderly with underlying health issues.

Vietnam is among the Asian countries with the best vaccine approach”, Cuong was quoted by VNE as saying.

Standing Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh emphasized that in order to “get enough vaccine”, the government must promote local vaccine development, as well as be proactive in importing COVID-19 vaccines from foreign manufacturers, especially Russia’s given their decent quality and reasonable prices.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc believes importing COVID-19 vaccine is the government’s current prioritized and urgent task while promoting domestic vaccine development.

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PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc (Photo: VNE)

COVAX is a global vaccine-sharing initiative jointly co-ordinated by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, CBC reported.

According to the WHO website, the goal of COVAX is "to accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines, and to guarantee fair and equitable access for every country in the world."

It was launched in April 2020, in response to the pandemic, as part of a four-pronged effort by WHO and partners to support global efforts to fight the disease. (In addition to vaccines, the other three pillars of that effort are diagnostics, treatment and health-system strengthening).

Earlier on February 1, Vietnam signed a deal with AstraZeneca, a British–Swedish multinational pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Cambridge, England, to supply the country with 30 million doses in the first half of this year for domestic inoculation.

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The first phase of human-trialing the Nanocovax vaccine has done (Photo: VNE)

Vietnam, the country’s been showered with praises over comprehensive and effective COVID-19 containment attainment is having four potential vaccines on hands. The vaccines are studied and produced by Nanogen, Vabiotech, Polyvac and the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals (IVMB), all have completed the laboratory production process.

While Vabiotech and Polyvac’s vaccines are still under evaluation on animals, IVMB’s candidate Covivac is scheduled to enter human trials this January after yielding safe and strong immunity response on animals.

As reported by VOV, IVAC will cooperate with the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology and Hanoi Medical University to trial the vaccine on 125 volunteers aged 18-59. Those receiving IVAC’s trial jabs must be healthy, having no underlying disease and satisfying several other specific criteria.

In the meantime, Nanocogen’s Nonacovax vaccine finished its first phase of human trials. Nanogen Biopharmaceutical company is expected to end its Nanocovax vaccine’s human trials by February 2022.

The human clinical trials protocol, which includes three phrases, was approved by the Ethics Council of the Ministry of Health on December 9. Each phrase consists of two injections, 28 days apart. Nanocovax is priced at VND120,000 ($5.17) per dose. Along with injections, Vietnam’s COVID-19 Nanocovax vaccine will also be developed in the form of eye-drop and nasal spray for special subjects.

On global scale, there are currently 11 COVID-19 vaccine candidates under the third phase of human trials. Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine (the US) is the first vaccine to complete the trials with 95 percent effectiveness and granted the emergency use authorization from the UK and Bahrain.

Meanwhile, Moderna’s vaccine is on its final clinical trial phase, with effective rate reaches 94.5 percent. Oxford/ AstraZeneca is 70-90 percent effective, depending on the injection dose. Russia’s Sputnik V (95 percent effective) is scheduled to begin mass vaccination next week.

Moderna’s vaccine is priced at 37 USD per dose, meanwhile, Pfizer’s vaccine and Oxford’s vaccine are more reasonably priced at 19 USD and 3 UDD per dose, respectively.

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Jasmine Le