Vietnam will administer Chinese-made coronavirus vaccines to residents of the country’s nine northern provinces, becoming the last ASEAN country to accept vaccines from its northern neighbor, local media reported.
The country of 95 million people administered about 2.4 million doses of the vaccine, but only 121,683 people are fully immunized, or about 0.13% of the population.
In a RFA report released last week, experts said the Vietnamese government appeared reluctant to accept Chinese vaccines due to the Vietnamese people’s lack of confidence in them, or because relations between Beijing and Hanoi could be slightly shaken.
But the VietnamNet The online newspaper reported on Wednesday that the Ministry of Health will administer 500,000 doses of Sinopharm given by China to the provinces of Lao Cai, Lang Son, Quang Ninh, Nam Dinh, Thai Binh, Dien Bien, Cao Bang, Lai Chau. and Ha Giang.
The biggest beneficiary is said to be Quang Ninh in the northeastern coast bordering China, with 230,000 doses, while the Thai Binh coast, two provinces south of Quang Ninh, would receive only 1,400 doses.
According to VietnamNet, the three priority groups to receive vaccines first are local residents who live in towns near the shared borders with China, those who need to conduct exchange activities or do business with China, and Chinese working and living in the provinces.
Also on Wednesday, the Ministry of Health sent an urgent dispatch to Ho Chi Minh City and the nine provinces of Nam Dinh, Cao Bang, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Dak Lak, Tien Giang, Lam Dong, Can Tho and Kien Giang. , urging them to speed up their coronavirus vaccination.
To date, the vaccination rate in Ho Chi Minh and the second group of nine provinces is less than 40 percent. Ho Chi Minh received two batches of vaccine, 74,500 doses at the end of May and 796,370 doses in mid-June.
The Vietnam Vaccine Fund has raised nearly 7 trillion dong (about $ 300 million) to purchase and administer vaccines, according to the fund’s board of directors.
Luu Hoang, deputy director of the board of directors, told the Vietnamese News Agency (VNA) that 2,000 billion dong would be used to purchase vaccines in July according to instructions from the Ministry of Health. The remaining amount will be deposited in commercial banks.
Possible deaths from vaccine
On Tuesday, the Hanoi Center for Disease Control (Hanoi CDC) reported that a 26-year-old teacher from the city’s Dong Anh district died 39 hours after inoculation with the British-made coronavirus vaccine. Swedish AstraZeneca, the fifth such post. -vaccination deaths in Vietnam.
A report from the Ministry of Health Health and life The newspaper said an expert council concluded the cause of death was unknown.
Clinical signs and forensic findings showed no evidence that death was caused by anaphylaxis, which can rarely be caused by an allergic reaction to a vaccine, or embolism, when blood clots block the arteries. Vaccination and screening procedures were carried out in accordance with current regulations, according to the report.
The previous four deaths involved a 35-year-old female health worker in An Giang province, a 27-year-old worker and driver in Bac Giang province, and a 55-year-old worker in Binh Thuan. Province.
Only the case of the health worker in An Giang was confirmed to be caused by anaphylaxis. She died a day after the vaccination.
No license for domestic vaccine
Also on Tuesday, Nanogen, the maker of the Vietnamese vaccine Nanocovax, told local media that it had submitted a proposal for urgent approval for local use to Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh because the vaccine had a 99.4% rate of production of immunogenic responses, but the Health Department said there was not enough scientific evidence to endorse it.
“[The 99.4 precent figure is] only immunogenicity, âNguyen Ngo Quang, deputy director of the Science, Technology and Training Administration of the Ministry of Health, told local media.
âWe don’t have the results of the research on how the immunogenicity / vaccine might reduce the rates of Covid-19 infection or its severity or not,â Quang said.
He also said the vaccine has undergone two phases of clinical trials and has shown high immunogenicity. However, the sample size was still too small because the company only collected samples from several hundred people when it needs tens of thousands.
Likewise, in its third-phase trial, only 1,000 people received the first dose of the vaccine, but it is expected to be tested on 13,000 people as planned.
In addition, experts should also assess the immunogenicity and effectiveness of the vaccine on the 36th, 45th and 56th days after the second injection, he said.
âThese are the basis for evaluating the immunogenicity and efficacy of the vaccine. Therefore, it takes at least two months and must reach this number of samples to be qualified for evaluation, âQuang told the Tuoi Tre newspaper.
He also said that the ministry strongly supports the development of national vaccines to help Vietnam improve its vaccine supply as well as its vaccine autonomy. However, before approving a vaccine, the Ministry must have sufficient data on its safety, immunogenicity and especially its protective efficacy.
âOur goal is to protect the health of people, so it is necessary to carefully weigh the benefits and the risks. Thorough approval doesn’t mean we’re trying to make it harder for business, âhe told Health and Life.
Vietnam has been one of the most effective countries in the fight against COVID-19, not having reported any deaths among its 95 million people until the end of July 2020, a record attributed to effective contact tracing , strict quarantines and early testing.
Since then, four separate waves of the virus have swept the country, with 13,782 confirmed cases and 69 deaths, according to statistics from the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.
Reported by the Vietnamese service of RFA. Translated by Anna Vu. Written in English by Eugene Whong.