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Jun 05, 2021 / 08:36

JUNE 4: Vietnam approves Sinopharm, negotiates Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines

So far, Vietnam has licensed three kinds of Covid-19 vaccines for emergency use.

Vietnam on June 4 approved a Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use developed by Chinese state-owned China National Pharmaceutical Group Co., Ltd. (Sinopharm), the third vaccine to be used after Russian Sputnik V and British-Swedish AstraZeneca.

 Janssen Covid-19 Vaccine. Photo: AFP/VNA

Approved by Beijing in December 2020, China-made SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine (Vero Cell), Inactivated was authorized by the World Health Organization (WHO) in May 2021.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in May showed that Sinopharm’s two jabs are 72.8% and 78.1% effective at preventing symptomatic Covid-19, but said there is insufficient trial data from elderly and vulnerable groups.

So far, more than 45 countries have already approved their use, but the WHO is among the first stringent regulatory authorities to review the data.

On June 4, Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long negotiated with Janssen Pharmaceuticals Companies of Johnson & Johnson to buy Janssen Covid-19 Vaccine (or Janssen Ad26.CoV2.S). He also expected the company’s tech transfer.

Johnson & Johnson said it has already had plans to file for approval of its Covid-19 vaccine for Vietnam, and would consider the possibility of tech transfer to the country.

Janssen Covid-19 Vaccine or Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 Vaccine is a single-shot vaccine received the US Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization in February 2021.

It was found to have an efficacy of 85.4% against severe disease and hospitalization, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

 Vietnam's locally-transmitted Covid-19 infections. Source: MoH. Chart: Minh Vu

Regarding efforts to grapple with Covid-19, Vietnam has been speeding up massive testing in affected areas. As part of it, the government decided to buy five mobile testing labs.

In another move, a 100-bed intensive care unit (ICU) came into operations in Bac Giang Province, the current epicenter, becoming the biggest ICU in northern Vietnam.

Equipped with the updated technology and facilities, it focuses on treating critical Covid-19 patients by a group of more than 70 doctors and 150 nurses specializing resuscitation from leading hospitals across Vietnam.

“The well-equipped ICU is considered as new weapon enabling health workers to boost effective treatment of severe patients. It helps secure safety for both patients and medical staff and save more lives in the fight against Covid-19,” according to Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Truong Son.

The ICU with the combined efforts by the Ministry of Health and Bach Mai Hospital (Vietnam’s biggest hospital) means a lot to Bac Giang in the face that its infections approach 3,000 and estimated to rise, Chairman of the Bac Giang People’s Committee Le Anh Duong said.

On the same day, Hanoi set up 15 teams to check countermeasures citywide to ensure safety for the secondary exam that is slated for June 12-13. To support affected schoolchildren, 9th graders who test positive for Covid-19 (F0) and first-generation contacts of confirmed cases (F1) will be exempted from the exam.

On June 4, Vietnam listed 219 cases of local transmission, driving up the total caseload to 8,287, including 3,242 have recovered. The death roll was 51, including 16 in the ongoing outbreak that flared up more than one month ago.