Jul 02, 2021 / 08:02

Vietnam likely to get 30 mln Covid-19 vaccine doses in Q3

Vietnam said the first batches would be delivered in July.

Vietnamese health minister Nguyen Thanh Long has said some 30 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine might arrive in Vietnam in the third quarter (Q3) this year.

 Testing in Ho Chi Minh City on July 1. Photo: Ngoc Phuong/Tuoi Tre

The first batches of vaccine would be delivered from July and come at intervals of three months, Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said at the Government meeting on July 1.

Long said the upcoming amount is within 105 million doses pledged by donors and suppliers for Vietnam in 2021. 

He added that his ministry is speeding up tech transfer of Covid-19 vaccine production from the US, Japan, Germany, Russia, and Cuba together with clinical trials of homegrown kinds.

For vaccination, Long said about 3.62 million doses had been administered as of June 29, including 2.57 million doses taken in June.

Vaccine cooperation with Cuba

In the telephone conversation held on July 1, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and his Cuban counterpart Manuel Marrero Cruz discussed necessary steps for the vaccine supply and tech transfer. Accordingly, authorized agencies of the two sides will take action to soon reach agreements on the issues.

In mid-June, Cuba said it’s willing to supply Abdala Covid-19 Vaccine and transfer technology to Vietnam if the country has demand for it. The information was shared at the virtual meeting held on June 16 between Vietnamese Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long and Cuban Health Minister José Angel Portal Miranda.

The Cuban minister said Cuba can produce 100 million doses of Abdala per year, but it uses only 30 million for domestic needs. Cuba can open two more factories to meet the quantity.

Nguyen Thanh Long absolutely supported the plan, saying that the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals (IVAC) or Pasteur Nha Trang will be in charge of the cooperation.

Since March 2021, Cuba has rolled out locally-produced Abdala though it was in Phase 3 clinical trials. It's reported that Phase 1 marked the trials on 123 people, Phase 2 with 660 volunteers, and Phase 3 on more than 48,000 voluntary recipients.

PPP model proposed access to vaccines

Concerning the vaccine purchase, representatives of 23 industry associations in Vietnam have suggested a transparent mechanism for public-private partnership (PPP) in negotiating and importing Covid-19 vaccines. The businesses have asked for the MoH guidelines in this issue. The request on the PPP has been sent to Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh.

In the same move, the Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Health on June 28 said it needs to have specific guidance in the vaccine purchase and allocation for businesses as they are waiting for both free-of-charge and paid vaccination.

The health minister has kept saying that it facilitates all stakeholders in the vaccine purchase by shortening the import process to 5-10 working days. So far, only 36 ministry-led companies are eligible to import vaccines.

But some Covid-19 vaccine suppliers like Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE, and AstraZeneca plc said they work with the Government only.

 Vietnam's Covid-19 cases. Source: MoH. Chart: Minh Vu

On July 1, Vietnam recorded 693 infections, including 464 cases in Ho Chi Minh City. The newest cases drove the country and the city’s tally to 17,576 and 4,304, respectively.

Currently, Ho Chi Minh City is the hardest-hit locality with community infections found in almost every part. Its confirmed cases rank after only Bac Giang epicenter (5,708). The southern economic hub on July 1 started massive testing citywide, including more than 600,000 tests in Thu Duc City, 460,000 tests in Binh Thanh District, and more than 150,000 tests in District 3.

According to Duong Anh Duc, deputy chairman of the municipal People's Committee, testing is part of the city’s efforts to prepare for the high school exam that is slated for July 7-8. All exam candidates are subject to the testing.

So far, Covid-19 has claimed 81 lives in the country. Nearly 60% of the death toll was detected in the fresh outbreak that flared up in late April.