Cuba Exports Covid-19 Vaccine to Vietnam

Cuba has exported its Abdala coronavirus vaccine for the first time with an initial shipment to Vietnam.
September 26, 2021 | 23:29
Cuba Exports Covid-19 Vaccine to Vietnam
Cuba approved emergency use of the Abdala vaccine on July 9 after manufacturers announced in June that the vaccine was more than 92 percent effective when three doses were given. Photo: AFP/VNA

The Caribbean nation said on Aug. 25 that it had exported its three-shot Abdala coronavirus vaccine for the first time, sending an initial shipment to Vietnam.

Scientists on the island have developed three home-grown vaccines against Covid-19, all of which are waiting to receive official recognition from the World Health Organization (WHO), according to Reuters.

State-run pharmaceutical corporation BioCubaFarma made the export announcement on Twitter after saying earlier this week it had produced enough doses to meet a target to immunize more than 90% of the local population by mid-November.

BioCubaFarma says it has the annual capacity to produce 100 million doses of the Abdala, Soberana 2 and Soberana Plus vaccines, which it said reduced by about 90% the risk of becoming seriously ill or dying from the disease.

A nurse prepares a dose of the Abdala COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination center in Havana, Cuba, on Aug 2, 2021. Photo by Reuters/Alexandre Meneghini
A nurse prepares a dose of the Abdala COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination center in Havana, Cuba, on Aug. 2, 2021. Photo: Reuters/Alexandre Meneghini

Hard-hit by the pandemic, the Cuba has seen vital exports such as tourism collapse and other foreign exchange earnings dwindle - creating shortages of food, medicine and other essential goods.

BioCubaFarma Corporate Vice President Mayda Mauri said once domestic supply goals had been met, Cuba would also start supplying vaccines to countries including Iran and Venezuela.

"There are very advanced conversations and exchanges on regulatory matters with Argentina and with other countries in various regions of the world," state media quoted Mauri as stating.

Iran is already producing the Soberana-2 vaccine.

Vietnam, Argentina and Mexico have said they hope to produce the Cuban vaccines soon, while a number of countries are using other Cuban drugs in their Covid-19 treatment protocols.

Vaccine doses sent to Vietnam on jet with President

Cuba Exports Covid-19 Vaccine to Vietnam
A batch of Cuban Covid-19 vaccine Abdala is transported aboard a jet to be flown back to Vietnam, Sept. 24, 2021. Photo: VNA

A special plane serving the overseas working trip ofPresident Nguyen Xuan Phuc and a high-ranking delegation of Vietnam is transporting 1.05 million doses of Abdala Covid-19 vaccine to Vietnam.

Of the shipment, 900,000 doses were handed over to the Vietnamese embassy in Cuba by the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB) on Sept. 24.

Another 150,000 doses were also handed over to the Vietnamese defense attache in Cuba by the Cuban Ministry of the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces, Vietnam News Agency reported.

Previously during a visit to Cuba from Sept. 18 to 20, Phuc agreed to buy 10 million Covid-19 vaccine doses from the country. Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel said Cuba was willing to provide vaccine technologies to support Vietnam in the Covid-19 fight.

As of late Sept. 24, Vietnam had administered roughly 37 million Covid-19 vaccine doses, with over 7.2 million people having been fully vaccinated.

Health authorities aim to immunize at least two-thirds of Vietnam's 98-million population against Covid-19 by the first quarter of next year.

The Vietnamese Ministry of Health on Sept. 17 granted emergency approval of Abdala Covid-19 vaccine.

The Abdala vaccine, technically known as CIGB-66, is developed by the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology. It employs a traditional approach by using a part of the spike protein, which the virus uses to bind to human cells, to build up the immune reaction.

Cuba approved emergency use of the Abdala vaccine on July 9 after manufacturers announced in June that the vaccine was more than 92% effective when three doses were given.

Abdala has made the eighth Covid-19 vaccine approved for emergency use in Vietnam apart from the U.K.’s AstraZeneca, the U.S.’s Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech, Russia’s SputnikV, China’s Sinopharm and the UAE’s Hayat-Vax.

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