31st Sea Games - Vietnam 2021 Covid-19 Pandemic
Nov 28, 2021 / 13:22

Vietnam promotes production of Covid-19 drugs, vaccines

Vietnam said vaccination and early treatment would be key for its pandemic fight.

Vietnam is determined to produce Covid-19 drugs and vaccines amid efforts to provide booster shots, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh told local authorities on November 27.

Vietnam's Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh at the meeting on Nov 27. Photo: VGP

Chinh stressed the need to tackle problems in the production of drugs and vaccines ensuring safety, scientific standards, and effectiveness when he chaired a meeting with the participation of Deputy PM Vu Duc Dam, Health Minister, drug producers, and scientists.

Chinh said drugs and vaccines are one of the crucial factors in coping with the Covid-19 pandemic that include the 5K (masking – disinfection – distance – no gathering – medical declaration), technology, and people’s awareness.

As Vietnam has switched anti-pandemic strategy from “zero Covid” to flexible adaptation to the pandemic, vaccination and early treatment would be essential for the pandemic fight, at the same time it helps Vietnam improve its medical capacity and develop the pharmaceutical industry.

The move is so important when Vietnam is planning the booster doses. The country of nearly 100 million people targets to fully vaccinate 70-75% of its adults above 18 by the end of this year.

Currently, Vietnam is developing and adopting technology transferred for vaccine production of Nanocovax (homegrown, COVIVAC (homegrown), and ARCT-154, HIPRA, Sputnik V, Shionogi, and several kinds from Cuba and India. The country has also requested the World Health Organization (WHO) to introduce its mRNA vaccine manufacturing technology to Vietnam.

Meanwhile, six makers have registered to produce drugs against Covid-19. Vietnam is using several kinds of drugs for Covid-19 treatment like Molnupiravir, Remdesivir, Favipiravir. 

In addition, Vietnam is conducting phase 1, 2, 3 clinical trials for traditional kinds of drugs (herbs) against Covid-19.

Regarding vaccination, roughly 119 million doses have been administered, including around 50 million people being fully vaccinated.

It is providing shots to children aged 15-17 in a broader plan to vaccinate kids between 12-17 which started late October. So far, nearly three million doses of Pfizer vaccine have been administered to children in 24 big cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Danang, Haiphong, Quang Ninh, Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

Sharing with The Hanoi Times, Associat Prof. Tran Dac Phu, the senior advisor to the Vietnam Public Health Emergency Operations Center (PHEOC), said vaccination remains a key factor in coping with the Covid-19 pandemic together with early treatment, saying that good care really helps in the context that the country switches to flexible adaptation to Covid-19.

 PM Pham Minh Chinh (L) and Director of Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC, developer of homegrown Nanocovax in June. Photo: VGP

Vaccine supply

As of mid-November, around 135 million doses have arrived in Vietnam. The number is predicted to reach 190 million by the year-end, compared to 150 million as planned, according to Deputy PM Pham Binh Minh.

Sources of vaccines are from the COVAX Facility, the WHO-led vaccine sharing scheme, countries’ donations, and purchases.

COVAX pledged to provide Vietnam 39 million doses free-of-charge by the end of 2021. So far, nearly 30 million doses have been delivered.

Aurélia Nguyen, Managing Director of the COVAX Facility at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, at the meeting with Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh in Paris on November 3 said that COVAX was working tirelessly to realize its commitments to participants and commended Vietnam’s effective vaccine rollout and support for COVAX.

Of the total doses delivered, the donation sources are significant from dozens of countries namely the US, China (6 million), Japan (5.6 million), Australia (7.8 million committed), Germany (3.45 million), Italy (2.8 million), Poland (1.4 million), South Korea (1.1 million), Argentina (500,000), the UK (415,000), Czech Republic (250,000), among others.

So far, the top vaccine donor for Vietnam is the US. With two additional million doses arriving in Vietnam on November 27, the number of US-donated vaccines reaches 20.5 million, accounting for 40% of Vietnam’s total donations.

In addition to vaccines, Vietnam has received dozens of millions of dollars from the above countries and others for the fight against Covid-19, including approximately US$34 million pledged by the US, roughly $40 million by Australia, about $20 million by Japan, $5 million by Switzerland, $4 million by Poland, and more.

Since the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020, Vietnam has vowed to facilitate the research and manufacturing of vaccines. Last month, in a government decision signed by Deputy PM Vu Duc Dam, the country will provide investors with financial support and preferential treatment in vaccine development, including Covid vaccines.

Businesses and organizations engaging in the development of vaccines against the pandemic would get 100% financial assistance for the exploratory stage, clinical trials, manufacturing, and quality control.

In the national vaccine production by 2030 program, volunteers participating in the trials would also receive financial support.

The maximum support will apply to both research and technology transfer of vaccine production.

Vietnam will focus on advanced technology-based vaccine production namely mRNA (like the one applied for the production of Pfizer and Moderna); recombinant vaccines; and viral vector vaccines.