Hanoi seeks to cover Covid-19 vaccination for all residents

By Vo Hai   February 3, 2021 | 06:36 pm PT
Hanoi seeks to cover Covid-19 vaccination for all residents
A man is injected with Covid-19 vaccine Nanocovax in Hanoi as part of human trials on December 17, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Huy Manh.
Hanoi has proposed buying Covid-19 vaccine shots for its citizens with its own budget and other financial sources, the municipal Party Committee said Wednesday.

The Hanoi Party Committee said it would work with the Ministry of Health and report to the government and the prime minister to seek approval on the city's plan to pay for its own Covid-19 vaccination.

Vaccine shots would be prioritized for those most likely to be infected by the novel coronavirus, the Party Committee said.

Hanoi, home to more than eight million people, has recorded 21 infections in the latest community transmission outbreak, which emerged in northern Vietnam last week and has spread to 10 cities and provinces with 366 confirmed cases.

The nearby Hai Phong port city, which has recorded one infection in the outbreak, has also revealed plans to buy Covid-19 vaccine shots for its two million citizens, using both the city's and the national budget.

Vietnam is currently aiming at mass Covid-19 vaccination for its nearly 100 million population. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Jan. 31 has requested the health ministry and Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam to present a plan for buying Covid-19 vaccines within the first quarter, using the national budget and other sources.

Vietnam on Monday 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.

Doctors and other staff in frequent contact with Covid-19 patients or suspected infectees will be among the first to be vaccinated, while other prioritized individuals include the elderly, those with chronic diseases that make them more vulnerable if they get infected, and officials in the diplomatic service, officials said at a government news briefing Tuesday.

Other details of the deal, including pricing and delivery times, have not been confirmed.

Besides AstraZeneca, the health ministry has also stepped up vaccine negotiations with the U.S.’s Pfizer and Moderna, along with other vaccine manufacturers in Russia and China.

Vietnam is also developing its own Covid-19 vaccines, with four currently in the works. Human trials for Nanocovax, produced by Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC, began last December, while Covivac, produced by the health ministry’s Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals, is expected to begin human trials after the Lunar New Year holiday in mid-February.

The country's total coronavirus tally is currently at 1,948.

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