HCMC is trying to speed up its Covid-19 vaccination campaign across all districts. The city expects to administer around 930,000 shots within the next two weeks.
Vietnam poised to start clinical trials of third Covid-19 vaccine this month
The Ministry of Health has recently granted approval for clinical trials to begin on the ARCT-154 Covid-19 vaccine, with medical tests set to begin on August 8 at Hanoi Medical University.
The ARCT-154 vaccine has been purchased from California-based Arcturus Therapeutics Holdings Inc by Vingroup, the nation’s largest private conglomerate, through its subsidiary VinBioCare Biotechnology Joint Stock Company.
The vaccine has been developed based on mRNA technology for the purpose of preventing Covid-19 and targeting fast-spreading variants such as Alpha and Delta strains, with the technology being transferred by Arcturus to Vingroup, VOV reported.
Moving forward, Vingroup will co-operate with the Health Ministry to conduct phase three of clinical trials of the mRNA-based candidate ARCT-154 in approximately 20,000 adults.
The initial two phases which took place in Singapore and the United States have ensured the vaccine's safety, according to a Vingroup representative.
Vingroup is therefore set to apply for approval for emergency use of the vaccine in the nation this year, with production set to start in early 2022. A facility owned by VinBioCare is currently under construction and is expected to produce 200 million doses annually, with the site projected to produce the first batches of the vaccine by early next year.
Arcturus Therapeutics is a leading clinical-stage messenger RNA medicines company which primarily focuses on the discovery, development, and commercialisation of therapeutics for rare diseases and vaccines.
At present, there are three vaccines under development in the nation, with the first vaccine, Nanocovax, being developed by the Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC and already in its third and final phase of human trials.
The second vaccine, Covivac, is being developed by the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals (IVAC) and is in phase two of trials.
The ARCT-154 vaccine therefore represents the country’s third Covid-19 vaccine to be clinically tested on humans.
Moreover, Russia's Sputnik vaccine will be piloted for pipe processing in the nation, with the first batch being sent to Russia for quality control. The country has secured deals for 130 million doses so far and is in the process of negotiating with other manufacturers for another 40 million doses in the near future.
The nation is making all-out efforts to get 70% of the population vaccinated against Covid-19 by the end of the first quarter of next year.
HCMC prepares support center for the poor
A support center with several outlets to provide necessities for poor people including factory workers will be set up in HCMC.
Nguyen Ho Hai, deputy secretary of the HCMC Party Committee, said at a meeting Monday that the policy has been approved and the city will complete the legal and procedural steps soon for its establishment and operations.
This center will closely monitor data of people in need to guarantee there will be no shortage of essential goods and no person in difficult that will be left out, Hai said.
Many people staying in HCMC are migrants who do not have household registration in the city, Hai said, explaining why the support center was needed.
|Poor people receive free meals from a restaurant in HCMC's District 1, June 2021. Photo: VnExpress|
HCMC is now the epicenter of the ongoing Covid-19 wave in Vietnam and has gone through more than 60 days of social distancing measures at various levels.
The city is now imposing the most stringent social distancing rule in line with Directive 16, which requires people to stay at home and only go out for essential purposes, while the operations of all non-essential service providers are suspended. Lottery sales is banned as are food and drink takeaway services, leaving many unemployed, reported VnExpress.
The support for poor families, if done effectively, will help prevent people from leaving the city en masse for their hometowns as has happened in recent days, Hai said.
Such "spontaneous" trips to go back to their hometowns pose the risk of spreading infection, and at the same time, could cause labor shortages and disruption of the production chain once the outbreak in the city is put under control, he said.
While the city has already mobilized many sources to support those adversely affected by the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak, more measures are necessary "to ensure that no one is left to starve during the social distancing period," he added.
HCM city economy remains strong despite Covid
Despite struggling to cope with a Covid-19 resurgence, Ho Chi Minh city managed to achieve positive economic growth in the first seven months of the year, according to the city Statistics Office.
Its industrial production index (IIP) increased by 2.3 percent during the period, with its four key industries, food and beverage, pharmaceutical chemistry, electronics, and mechanical engineering growing by 2.15 percent annually on average.
This is considered a bright spot in the context that the city has to cope with the fourth wave of the pandemic, while a number of its partner countries are also dealing with the pandemic, affecting imports of raw materials.
The city needs to continue to perform pandemic prevention tasks well and promote production at locations where there are no infections, the office said.
|Despite being hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, the city's economy has achieved positive growth in the year to date. Photo:nld.com.vn|
Enterprises need to keep a close eye on the situation and safely and effectively carry out production, it added.
Exports by city enterprises (including crude oil) rose by 8.8 percent to over US$24.6 billion, cited VNA.
The pandemic impacted retail sales of consumer goods and services, which reduced by 1.8 percent to VND583.19 trillion (US$25.5 million), but the tourism and travel industry was affected the most.
An official from the city tax department said it was expected that collections in the coming months would be affected.
Le Duy Minh, director of the department, said to help enterprises, business households and individuals revive their business, the department had strived to help them get VAT refunds quickly.
Tax collection for the rest of the year would be a struggle and require comprehensive and effective measures, he said.
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