International cooperation in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and issues related to vaccines were discussed during Wednesday's meetings between Vietnamese health minister Nguyen Thanh Long and Chinese, Indian and Russian ambassadors.
|Health minister Nguyen Thanh Long during talks with Chinese, Indian, and Russian ambassadors on COVID-19 vaccines. — VNA/VNS Photo|
The health minister congratulated the three countries on their achievements in developing, manufacturing, and distributing COVID-19 vaccines, as well as thanked the three countries for their support and cooperation in Vietnam’s own fight against the pandemic.
Regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, Long said Vietnam has reviewed its protocols on approving foreign COVID-19 vaccines for emergency uses, and cut back on administrative procedures to ensure fast approval and licensing, however, the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine is still the highest priority.
Minister Long asked China to support Vietnam with vaccine supply to ensure coverage for prioritised groups, including Vietnamese citizens who wish to work or study in China as China has started to implement vaccination certificates to facilitate visas for those who had been inoculated with Chinese-made vaccines.
Vabiotech Company (under the Ministry of Health) serves as the focal point responsible for approaching, negotiations, and overall assessment of resources, COVID-19 supply capacity of Chinese partners, as well as demand for use of vaccines in Vietnam, according to Long.
“We hope to soon receive the application documents for COVID-19 vaccines from China. If the documents meet our requirements, the approval could be done within two weeks,” Long said.
Minister Long and Indian ambassador to Vietnam Pranay Verma also discussed vaccine cooperation.
India currently manufactures two main types of COVID-19 vaccines, one by AstraZeneca (this type is not for Vietnam’s market), and one developed by Indians, Covaxin. A private company in Vietnam has submitted a request to the health ministry to get licences for distribution of the vaccine in Vietnam, according to the health minister.
The Indian ambassador said the embassy is still discussing with Indian vaccine producers on lending help for Vietnam in conducting phase 3 human trials of Vietnamese-made COVID-19 vaccines, which would need to involve thousands of volunteers.
The two sides have also agreed to step up investment cooperation in Vietnam’s pharmaceutical industry.
Talking to Minister Counselor of the Russian Embassy in Vietnam Bublikov Vadim, Minister Long reiterated that the country has approved for emergency use Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.
Regarding Vietnam’s proposals on supply of the vaccine as well as cooperation to manufacture Sputnik V right in Vietnam, the Russian diplomat said they are willing to work with the health ministry and other agencies to implement deals regarding Sputnik V.
Vietnam is set to receive some 60 million doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines this year – 30 million from COVAX Facility and 30 million through commercial purchases with the company itself, and is looking for more options – including domestically developed vaccines – to achieve herd immunity (80 per cent coverage of its near 100 million population).
The clinical trial of the domestically-made Nanocovax vaccine is going smoothly, and by the end of September, Vietnam will have its first Covid-19 vaccine.
Vietnam has completed the first-dose vaccination of 560 volunteers who participated in the Phase 2 trial of Nanocovax's Covid-19 vaccine,