Vietnam’s premier has directed the Ministry of Health to take steps for licensing one more foreign coronavirus vaccine for emergency use in the country, amid the nation’s need to have enough vaccine to curb surging infection cases.
In a document issued by the Government Office on Friday, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh asked the health ministry to evaluate the quality of Hayat-Vax COVID-19 vaccine, made in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), before importing the vaccine and licensing it for emergency use in Vietnam.
The PM gave his direction after considering the request by Vimedimex Medi-Pharma Joint Stock Company for quick registration and appraisal of the vaccine so that it can be used for free vaccination in the country to drive back the increasing coronavirus spread.
The government chief also tasked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with boosting diplomatic activities related to importing the vaccine.
Hayat-Vax vaccine is an inactivated vaccine, produced by growing the SARS-CoV-2 in cell culture and then using chemicals to inactivate the virus.
If Hayat-Vax is licensed, it will become the seventh foreign COVID-19 vaccine that has obtained a license for emergency use in Vietnam, after UK’s AstraZeneca, China’s Sinopharm, Russia’s Sputnik, and three U.S. vaccines including Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.
Currently, four COVID-19 vaccines are being vaccinated free of charge in Vietnam, including AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer and Sinopharm.
Meanwhile, Nano Covax is slated to be registered for emergency approval within August as part of an effort to make the first Vietnamese vaccine available as soon as possible.
Vietnam needs to have 150 million vaccine doses to inoculate 70 percent of its 98-million population to reach herd immunity, but it so far has got only some 24 million vaccine jabs from different sources, including COVAX Facility, purchases and donations, the ministry said.
The country is accelerating immunization, with the numbers of people receiving the first and second shots reaching over 14.7 million and some 1.6 million, respectively, the health ministry reported on Friday evening.
The ministry has also documented more than 323,000 COVID-19 cases nationwide, including 132,815 recoveries and 7,540 deaths, since the pandemic hit the country in early 2020.
Except Cao Bang, the coronavirus has now spread to 62 out of the country’s 63 cities and provinces, with Ho Chi Minh City topping the list with over 167,000 cases by Friday, following by Binh Duong and Long An with more than 59,800 and 17,000 cases, respectively.