The third phase of human trials of Vietnam’s homegrown COVID-19 vaccine candidate, Covivac, has been put on hold because there were not enough unvaccinated volunteers to join the test.
The Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals (IVAC), which develops the Covivac vaccine, has announced that the third human trial of the vaccine had been halted.
Most provinces and cities in Vietnam have provided COVID-19 vaccination to the majority of their adult population, thus it is now impossible to recruit a sufficient number of unvaccinated volunteers for the experiment, the IVAC explained.
The team in charge of conducting the human trial is considering testing the vaccine by providing it as a booster shot.
However, this plan can only begin in March 2022 at the earliest, as people need to wait at least six months after their second doses to become eligible for a booster jab, the team stated.
Vietnam has two homegrown COVID-19 vaccine candidates, including Nano Covax developed by Ho Chi Minh City-based Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC and Covivac.
The IVAC began making the Covivac vaccine in May 2020 and coordinated with the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology to conduct the first human trial in Hanoi in January, which was joined by 120 volunteers.
The second phase began in the northern province of Thai Binh in June with the participation of about 375 volunteers.
The third human trial was expected to take place in December.
Meanwhile, Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC is conducting the third human trial of its Nano Covax vaccine.
Vietnam has also received the transfer of technology for the production of the ARCT-154 vaccine from the U.S. and the HIPRA jab from Spain, both of which are in the middle of clinical trials.
Vietnam has documented 1,238,082 COVID-19 patients since the pandemic first struck it early last year, with 989,348 recoveries and 25,252 deaths.
Health workers have given over 122 million vaccine doses since inoculation was rolled out nationwide on March 8.
More than 71 million of the country’s 98 million people have got at least one dose while nearly 51 million are now fully vaccinated.