A number of domestic businesses have announced their plans to purchase COVID-19 vaccines for use among their employees and family members following the arrival of the first batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Coteccons Construction Joint Stock Company and the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam have already registered to purchase tens of thousands of doses which would be distributed among their employees and family members, according to a reports thanhnien.vn.
Dat Xanh Group, a real estate developer, has also announced plans to fund inoculations for over 7,300 employees working at 68 of its affiliates nationwide.
Furthermore, Phu Nhuan Jewelry, one of the country's leading gold and gem stone firms, has agreed to purchase COVID-19 vaccines for staff members. It has also raised a total of VND270 million in support of the free vaccination campaign for groups of underprivileged people in society, including the poor.
Meanwhile, the Canada International School Vietnam has also decided to allocate a fund of VND3 billion for its immunisation campaign in an effort to vaccinate its teachers and staff, as well as the parents of students, providing the conditions allow.
Despite this initial interest, the Vietnam Vaccine Joint Stock Company (VNVC), the only agency assigned by the Ministry of Health to receive, preserve, and distribute COVID-19 vaccines domestically, has said due to limited supplies, imported vaccines will be available for priority groups first. Specifically, frontline healthcare workers would be at the head of the queue.
Vaccination inoculations will be regulated by the Government, according to a VNVC representative.
Vietnam imported its first batch of more than 117,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine on February 24.
The Ministry of Health (MoH) subsequently published a list of 11 groups of people that will benefit from the vaccination campaign, with priority to be given to frontline healthcare workers, soldiers, border forces, policemen, and those on duty in isolation areas and quarantine facilities.
The MoH is currently considering licensing two additional COVID-19 vaccines produced by Moderna of the United States and Generium of Russia.
Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said the country requires at least 150 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines which can be used to inoculate citizens this year. However, he confirmed the MoH is likely to get only 90 million doses in 2021.
Along with the import of 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine agreed with AstraZeneca and COVAX, Vietnam is in the midst of negotiating to import a further 30 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine of the US, said Long
Four Vietnamese research institutes and companies are now researching and developing COVID-19 vaccines, with two locally-produced vaccines, Nano Covax and Vovivac, carrying out human clinical trials.
During a recent Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc requested the MoH and relevant agencies to speed up the national vaccination campaign, considering this to be key to slowing the spread of the virus among the community.
"Our strategy is to vaccinate approximately 100 million Vietnamese people," PM Phuc said.
Due to limited supplies of COVID-19 vaccines, the country has yet to launch paid immunisation services, said Associate Professor Tran Dac Phu, former director of the National Preventive Medicine Department and currently a senior member of National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control.
Vietnam to license two more COVID-19 vaccines
The Ministry of Health is considering importing two more COVID-19 vaccines produced by Moderna of the United States and Generium of Russia.
If the proposal is green-lighted, Vietnam will have three licensed vaccines, namely AstraZeneca of the UK, Moderna of the US and Generium of Russia.
Vietnam needs at least 150 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to vaccinate its people this year. However, Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long has said Vietnam is likely to get 90 million doses this year.
Besides 60 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine that the ministry has reached agreements with AstraZeneca and COVAX, it is negotiating to import 30 million doses of Pfizer vaccine of the US.
The first batch of AstraZeneca vaccine numbering more than 117,000 doses arrived in Vietnam on February 24.
The Ministry of Health is scheduled to kick-start a vaccination campaign in early March, with priority given to frontline healthcare workers. VOV
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