Vietnam on May 18 may reach a deal to get 31 million vaccine doses made by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE, reported at a government meeting on May 17.
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said at the meeting that vaccine purchase is an urgent task and must be done at the earliest.
Vietnam is currently using the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine bought from AstraZeneca plc and delivered by the World Health Organization-led global vaccine sharing COVAX Facility.
Vietnam has so far received more than 2.6 million vaccine doses and half of them have been administrated to local residents.
Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine is among the priciest on the market, at US$19.5 a dose.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla in April 2021 said the company’s Covid-19 vaccine price is no more expensive than the cost of a meal and will not be sold to poor countries for a profit.
“Vaccines are very expensive.” “They save human lives, they allow economies to reopen, but we sell them at the price of a meal,” he said in the interview with Les Echos in France, Germany’s Handelsblatt, Italy’s Corriere Della Sera and El Mundo in Spain.
Bourla did not confirm the price of the Pfizer vaccine but admitted that it was sold at a higher price to developed countries like those in the EU or the US, for half the price in middle-income countries and at a cost in poorer countries, including in Africa.
The prices are in sharp contrast to the vaccine produced by British-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca, which vowed not to make a profit on its product during the pandemic.
Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine, which is based on BioNTech proprietary mRNA technology, was developed by both BioNTech and Pfizer.
Since December 11, 2020, the vaccine has been authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use to prevent Covid-19 in individuals 16 years of age and older.
On May 10, 2021, the FDA expanded the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine to include adolescents 12 through 15 years of age.
As planned, 1,682,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine provided by the Covax Facility arrived in Vietnam on May 16.