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Aug 12, 2021 / 23:59

Today’s Covid News: Vietnam likely produces vaccine in September

The homegrown Covid-19 vaccine candidate Nanocovax will finish phase 3 clinical trials in August.

Vietnam might produce homegrown Covid-19 vaccines in September, the news was released at the government meeting today [August 12] chaired by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh.

“If things go well, we can have a domestically produced vaccine this September. It marks the working results by scientists, research institutions, managers, manufacturers, and the country’s common product,” Chinh said.

He asked all relevant agencies and stakeholders to cooperate for the earliest production.

 Nanocovax Covid-19 vaccine. Photo: Nanogen 

The vaccine that they mentioned is Nanocovax developed on the protein-based recombinant DNA technology. The Covid-19 vaccine candidate developed by Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC (Nanogen) is a two-dose vaccine under the phase 3 clinical trials lasting from June to August on around 13,000 volunteers.

In early August, Nanogen has requested the ministry to allow the trials on between 500,000 and one million volunteers. According to the producer, trials results and comparison analysis show Nanocovax has around 90% efficacy.

On August 12, France’s President Emmanuel Macron announced to share 670,000 vaccine doses with Vietnam via the COVAX Facility to “win this fight against Covid-19”.

According to the French Embassy in Hanoi, the vaccines will be handed over to Vietnam at the end of August or early September.

Vietnam is the second recipient in Asia after Indonesia of France’s donated vaccines this time.

Earlier on August 11, the Government of Hungary announced to gift 100,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses and 100,000 test kits to Vietnam. 

So far, Vietnam has received nearly 10 million vaccine doses via the COVAX Facility, UN Resident Coordinator in Vietnam Kamal Malhotra said at today's meetings with Vietnam’s President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Chairman of the National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue to bid farewell before ending his term in the country.

Malhotra suggested that Vietnam should prioritize vaccinating as many as possible people aged above 65 and those with underlying diseases.

About five months into the rollout, Vietnam has a low vaccination rate due to the thin supply. As of August 12, more than 12 million doses have been administered, including 1.1 million people fully vaccinated.

In another move, today Deputy Prime Minister Le Minh Khai decided to fund more for the fight against Covid-19 in Ho Chi Minh City and the Ministry of National Defense. Both of them will receive cash, a military lifesaver tarp, and generators.

 Testing at a coach station in Hanoi on August 12. Photo: Khanh Huy/ Phap Luat Xa Hoi

Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi

Lieutenant General Ngo Minh Tien, Deputy Chief of the General Staff said today that the army will send more manpower to the epicenter of Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) and other southern affected localities.

“The Ministry of National Defence has reviewed all the medical staff ready to support the southern field hospitals. In the coming time, we will send doctors and nurses who experienced the fight against Covid-19 in previous epicenters like Hai Duong, Bac Ninh, and Bac Giang to support the battle in the south,” Tien said.

Yesterday, Director of the HCMC Department of Internal Affairs Huynh Thanh Nhan said the city needs 12,000 more health workers to join the treatment of Covid-19 patients and work in quarantine facilities.

Today, HCMC decided to set up five makeshift emergency stations citywide. Each station, which is equipped with 20 ambulances and 280 people will provide first aid to Covid-19 patients and bring them to treatment facilities.

On the same day, the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor (VGCL) approved a new bonus package, which will provide more nutritious meals for frontline health workers who join the anti-pandemic fight in the south (including HCMC).

Hanoi, meanwhile, is on its way to conduct testing on more than three million people in high-risk areas with an aim to detect index cases in the community.

Dr. Nguyen Thu Anh, Country Director, Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, Sydney University, Australia, supported the city’s move, saying that it largely helps Hanoi proceed with its anti-pandemic plans during the lockdown.

But she warned Hanoi of crowd gathering and the accuracy of the results due to a huge amount of work within a short period of time.

 Secretary of the Hanoi Party's Committee Dinh Tien Dung at a Covid-19 checkpoint in Long Bien District on August 12. Photo: Phap Luat Xa Hoi

Daily infections

Vietnam recorded on Thursday additional 9,667 coronavirus infections, with two-thirds in Ho Chi Minh City and Binh Duong, lifting the total to 246,568. Of the national cases, 89,145 have recovered and 4,813 died of Covid-19.

Thanks to the easing of the pandemic in other parts of the country, 19 cities and provinces announced today students’ back-to-school dates which will vary between August 16 and September 1.

Most of the localities are in the north.

 Covid-19 infections in Vietnam. Source: MoH. Chart: Minh Vu