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Vietnam encourages eligible enterprises to import Covid-19 vaccines

Malie Nguyen Malie Nguyen

Dieuhuong270198@gmail.com

March 25, 2021 | 12:27

The Ministry of Health has encouraged the eligible Vietnamese enterprises domestically and overseas to negotiate with the foreign producers to import the Covid-19 vaccines, aiming to increase the coverage of vaccination for residents.

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There are currently AMV Group, Vaccine and Biological Production Company No. 1 (Vabiotech) and Vimedimex Medi-Pharma JSC are being in talks with the U.S and Indian producers, Vnexpress reported.

Vietnam has received vaccines from the global vaccine access mechanism Covax and purchasing contract of Vietnam Vaccine JSC (VNVC). More than 800,000 doses under Covax are expected to be transported to Vietnam in the next three weeks due to the delayed delivery.

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Vials of Sputnik V vaccine. Photo: Reuters

Covax is co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO. Its aim is to accelerate the development and manufacture of Covid-19 vaccines and to guarantee fair and equitable access for every country in the world.

VNVC is among three units granted approval for importing vaccine from AstraZeneca, along with the Covax Facility and UNICEF.

A total of 29,87 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines ordered by VNVC are expected to arrive in Vietnam into 5 batches between April and August.

The Health Ministry on March 23 gave emergency use authorization (EUA) for Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, making it the second greenlighted Covid-19 vaccine in the country, after AstraZeneca.

The Ministry greenlighted Sputnik V based on its safety, quality and effectiveness data provided by the Center for Research and Production of Vaccines and Biologicals (Polyvac) as of February 25.

Polyvac reached the deal with Russia in being authorized to register, importing, distributing and producing the Sputnik V vaccine in Vietnam at the end of 2020. Nevertheless, the vaccine supply scheme has not been disclosed.

In addition, Vietnam is stepping up negotiations with Johnson & Johnson and Moderna as well as other vaccine manufacturers in Russia and China.

Apart from imported vaccines, the Ministry of Health is accelerating the research and development of locally-produced ones. Nanocovax vaccine by Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC entered its second phase of human trials last month. Meanwhile, Covivac by the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals (IVAC) has been conducting its first phase of human trials.

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A worker holds up a vial of Nanocovax, a domestic Covid-19 vaccine, in a laboratory in HCMC's District 9. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.

Two other Vietnamese vaccines are in development, produced by Vaccine and Biological Production Company No. 1 (Vabiotech) and the Center for Research and Production of Vaccines and Biologicals (Polyvac).

Vietnam received more than 117,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses out of a total of 30 million ordered by VNVC on February 24. These vaccines were allocated to provinces and cities to inject their medical and other frontline workers.

As of March 25, nearly 38,000 Vietnamese have administered their first shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Hai Duong, the nation’s biggest Covid-19 hotspot in the latest outbreak, has the highest number of recipients with 17.248 people. Vietnam has recorded cases displaying reactions after inoculation, but most of whom with common ones. The post-injection response rates are equivalent to those reported by the manufacturer. Some cases with severe reactions were timely treated and now in stable health conditions.

Vietnam expects to start producing its own Covid-19 vaccine by the end of this year's third quarter.

The country is also expected to acquire 150 million Covid-19 vaccine doses from both foreign and domestic sources by 2022.

No new COVID-19 cases were recorded in Vietnam over the past 12 hours to 6 pm on March 24, keeping the national count at 2,576, said the Ministry of Health.

Of the total, 1,601 are domestically-transmitted cases, including 907 infections since the third wave of outbreak hit the country on January 27.

According to the ministry’s Medical Service Administration, an additional 19 patients have been given the all-clear from coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, bringing the total number of recoveries to 2,265, while the death toll remained at 35, according to Nhan Dan.

Among active patients undergoing treatment at medical establishments nationwide, 54 tested negative to the virus once, 21 twice and 45 thrice.

As many as 29,762 people who had close contact with COVID-19 patients or entered Vietnam from pandemic-hit regions are currently quarantined across the country, including 214 in hospitals, 16,651 in state-designated establishments and 12,897 at their residences.

To live safely with the pandemic, the Ministry of Health advised people to continue preventive measures, including the “5K message” (in Vietnamese) - Khau trang (facemask) - (Khu khuan) disinfection - (Khoang cach) distance - (Khong tu tap) no gathering – (Khai bao y te) health declaration.

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Malie Nguyen