Vietnam seeks Covid-19 vaccination support from China, India, Russia

By Le Nga   March 31, 2021 | 04:48 pm PT
Vietnam seeks Covid-19 vaccination support from China, India, Russia
A volunteer is injected with Vietnamese Covid-19 vaccine Covivac as part of its human trials, March 30, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
Vietnam wants to cooperate with India and Russia to develop Covid-19 vaccines and needs China's help to inoculate prioritized groups, Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said.

He made the request at a Thursday meeting with Chinese ambassador Xiong Bo, Indian ambassador Pranay Verna, and minister counselor of the Russian embassy, Bublikov Vadim.

Long requested China to help with inoculating prioritized groups against Covid-19, including Vietnamese citizens who need to travel, work and study in China.

"We hope to receive documents from China to seek approval for its Covid-19 vaccine soon. Once the documents are properly received, the approval process should be done quickly within two weeks," he said.

Vietnam has reviewed its foreign vaccine approval process during emergencies, said Long, adding that it would help shorten administrative procedures for approval. The Vaccine and Biological Production Company No. 1 (Vabiotech) under the Ministry of Health is responsible for evaluating foreign production as well as Vietnam's own need for Covid-19 vaccines, said Long.

Pranay Verma said India was producing two types of Covid-19 vaccines, one for British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca, that is called Covishield, and the other produced by Indian biotech firm Bharat Biotech, called Covaxin. The registration documents for the latter have been submitted to the Vietnam's health ministry by medical company Duc Minh for approval, Verna said.

Long requested India to support Vietnam in the third phase human trials for its own Covid-19 vaccines. Currently, two Vietnamese Covid-19 vaccines, Nanocovax by Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC and Covivac by the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals, are undergoing human trials. Nanocovax entered the second phase last month, while Covivac began its first phase earlier this month.

Bublikov Vadim said Russia was willing to provide as well as cooperate with Vietnam in the production of Sputnik V, a Russian Covid-19 vaccine. Last week, Vietnam has approved Sputnik V for emergency use, with the Center for Research and Production of Vaccines and Biologicals (Polyvac) negotiating to bring it into Vietnam.

Vietnam has received around 117,600 Covid-19 vaccine doses by AstraZeneca so far for its mass Covid-19 vaccination campaign, and over 48,000 Vietnamese have already received their first shots, mainly frontline workers in the pandemic fight. The country aims to secure around 150 million vaccine doses this year to cover 70 percent of its population.

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