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Sep 24, 2021 / 07:20

Vietnam takes flexible actions to new situation

Vietnam said containing the virus in big cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City would enable the country to create momentum for the recovery plans.

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh today [Sept 23] said the government would take measures flexibly to adapt to the new situation as it’s hard to reach “zero-Covid” status that even in developed countries with 90% of the population vaccinated.

 Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh at a meeting on Sept 23. Photo: VGP

Coping with the pandemic in a flexible and effective manner by both following the government’s strategies and basing on the actual situation in certain places, Chinh said, noting that the pandemic evolution has prompted changes in leadership.

It requires supportive policies timely to enable localities to step by step ease restrictions and reopen the economy.

He said that the government will focus on six key guidances in the time to come, including healthcare; economic development; science-technology; socio-economic stability; vaccine, drug, and people’s awareness of the pandemic in the new situation; and safety for production.

For that reason, it’s necessary to buy vaccines as quickly as possible and have an all-in-one app on Covid-19 pandemic to facilitate locals, the PM requested authorized agencies.

 Indian Ambassador to Vietnam Pranay Verma at the meeting on Sept 23. Photo: Embassy of India in Hanoi

Regarding vaccines, the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI) under India’s Ministry of Science and Technology on September 23 signed a memorandum of understanding for collaborative research with Vietnam’s Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology (NPB) JSC to boost testing for NPB-developed Covid-19 vaccine candidate Nanocovax.

The deal will help THSTI extend testing assistance to NPB for assessing the immunogenicity of the Nanocovax vaccine. The results from such assessment would provide critical inputs to enable NPB to seek Vietnam’s authorization for emergency use of Nanocovax.

THSTI will conduct tests on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of people who got Nanocovax doses to access the immunogenicity of the recombinant DNA/protein technology-based vaccine. THSTI will secure the assessment within 30 days.

Both ambassadors of the two countries attended the event. Indian Ambassador to Vietnam Pranay Verma talked about the wider areas of collaboration in the health sector, saying that the move paves the way for vaccine research in both countries. Commenting on this move, the Vietnamese Ambassador to India Pham Sanh Chau said that the cooperation with THSTI Institute is of great significance for Nanogen in developing the Nanocovax vaccine. THSTI’s objective evaluation will help confirm the quality of this vaccine and will be the basis for the mass production for both domestic use and export.

Nanocovax is the only one among Vietnam’s three homegrown Covid-19 vaccine candidates that enters Phase 3 clinical trials with around 13,000 volunteers. The producer has requested the government to approve the vaccine for emergency use. However, the Ministry of Health has insisted on saying no, adding that they need more evidence on the effectiveness.

THSTI, an autonomous institute, was named one of six laboratories for assessing Covid-19 vaccine candidates of the Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness for Innovation (CEPI), a global initiative.

 Vietnamese returnees at Van Don International Airport on Sept 23. Photo: Vietnam Airlines

In pursuing recovery plans, Vietnam continues to welcome fully-vaccinated incoming people. On September 23, more than 300 Vietnamese nationals from France landed at Van Don International Airport in northern Vietnam under the country’s pilot one-week quarantine program applied to fully vaccinated visitors.

The passengers are the first incoming people from Europe who are subject to the plan that began early this month. This is the third flight of the program following the first one from Japan on Sept 4 and the second from the US on Sept 12.

So far, all the passengers are Vietnamese.

They need to show RT-PCR or RT-LAMP testing results negative with Covid-19 taken within 72 hours before the departure.

On Sept 23, Vietnam confirms 9,472 coronavirus infections and 236 deaths. Its cases and death toll fell 10.6% and 15.8% in the past week.

 Vietnam's coronavirus cases. Source: MoH. Chart: Minh Vu