Vietnam News

Vietnam to receive 5 mln Covid-19 vaccine doses in February

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Vietnam would receive around five million Covid-19 vaccine doses by the end of February, Deputy Health Minister Truong Quoc Cuong said at a meeting Monday.

They include about 4.9 million vaccine doses provided via Covax, a global mechanism for developing, manufacturing and procuring Covid-19 vaccine candidates and help member countries access vaccines as they become available. About 117,000 other doses would be imported, Cuong said, adding that they would come by the end of February provided that flights and procedures are completed as scheduled.

With the vaccine doses, five million people will receive the first shots, and three months later the second shots would be administered. Around two to five million people on the frontline of the coronavirus fight would be prioritized to get the vaccine.

Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh said the vaccine doses imported aren’t many, so authorities need to actively negotiate with other sources to buy more vaccines and promote domestic vaccine manufacturing.

“Some experts have requested that Vietnam considers vaccines produced by Russia due to their fairly good quality and affordable prices,” he said.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said importing Covid-19 vaccines should be a foremost priority of the government, while calling for quick research progress on domestic Covid-19 vaccines as well.

“Within February, there have to vaccine doses provided by the United Nations and other buying sources, while domestic production needs to be boosted as well,” he said.

The Ministry of Health would be tasked with choosing the vaccines and partners, determining those prioritized to be vaccinated and cooperating with the Ministry of Finance to propose the budget for buying vaccines. The final plan is expected to be considered and approved by the government on Wednesday, Phuc said.

Vietnam has reached a deal to receive 30 million doses of a vaccine developed by British-Swedish company AstraZeneca in collaboration with Oxford University within the first half of this year. The country is also stepping up negotiations with the U.S.’s Pfizer and Moderna, along with other vaccine manufacturers in Russia and China.

Covax also announced last month that it would provide between 4.9 million and 8.2 million vaccine doses to Vietnam within the first half of this year.

Vietnam has four domestic Covid-19 vaccines developed by Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC, the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals, the Vaccine and Biological Production Company No. 1 and the Center for Research and Production of Vaccines and Biologicals.

Nanocovax, produced by Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC, has finished its first phase of human trials and is expected to begin the second one this month. Covivac of the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals is expected to commence human trials this month as well.

As of Monday, Vietnam has recorded 677 Covid-19 cases since the new community wave started late last month. The biggest coronavirus hotspot is northern Hai Duong Province, now with 499 cases.

By Vo Hai – VnExpress.net – February 15, 2021

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