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Jun 07, 2021 / 17:16

Vietnam facilitates development of homegrown Covid-19 vaccines

Vietnam is racing against time to reach 150 million doses of vaccine for 70% of its population.

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has made a request to related authorities to create favorable conditions for the development of the domestic Covid-19 vaccine.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh at the meeting on June 7. Photo: Quang Hieu/VGP 

The development of domestically-produced vaccines has become crucial for Vietnam to achieve the target of vaccinating 75 million people by the year-end, Chinh told local scientists and representatives of agencies specializing in Covid-19 vaccine research, tech transfer, and production.

“Vaccine strategy” remains a fundamental, long-term, and decisive solution to help the country put the Covid-19 pandemic under control," the PM emphasized at the meeting on Monday [June 7].

He required straightforward and scientific recommendations on regulatory framework, capacity, technology, and finance, and human resources in developing and storing vaccines as well as inoculation.

He regarded this as the mission, which must be achieved in the spirit of “saying no to impossibility” for the sake of the people and the national interest.

The National Standing Committee on Covid-19 Prevention and Control, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, will build a national program on the research, development, and tech transfer of vaccines, which will be jointly carried out by the Ministry of Health (MoH), the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST), and the Ministry of Finance (MoF).

Two national vaccine candidates with better prospects are Nanocovax by Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC (Nanogen) and COVIVAC by the Institute for Vaccines and Medical Biological Products (IVAC).

Nanogen is on phase 3 clinical trials with the participation of 13,000 volunteers. The trials will likely last for two or three months starting from June.

The two developers’ total capacity varies between 30 and 40 million doses per year and higher if more investment is made.

Meanwhile, two other businesses are negotiating with foreign partners to obtain production tech transfer with a capacity of 200-300 million doses/year.

In another move, the Vietnamese government has launched the national Covid-19 vaccine fund and called for contributions from individuals and organizations domestically and abroad. The fund, named Vietnam Fund for Vaccination Prevention of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (VFVC), has raised nearly VND7 trillion (US$304 million) so far.

Vietnam is estimated to need 150 million doses costing roughly VND25 trillion (US$1.08 billion) to achieve the herd community. Nearly 1.27 million doses have been administered to locals, resulting in the lowest vaccination rate in Southeast Asia.