HÀ NỘI — Half a million doses of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine donated by China are set to arrive in Việt Nam today.
The vaccine, with the product name Vero Cell, will be given to Chinese nationals living in Việt Nam, Vietnamese people who intend to go to work or study in China and residents in the border region with China, according to the health ministry.
The move tracks with China's visa facilitation and its vaccine passports which so far only accept Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines.
The Vietnamese health ministry on June 3 granted conditional approval of Sinopharm vaccine for use in the emergency outbreak situation, in addition to the Oxford/AstraZeneca, Russia's Sputnik V, and the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines.
The Sinopharm vaccine can be kept at normal fridge temperatures (2-8 degrees Celsius) with a shelf life of up to 24 months, making it easy to store and transport.
In the announcement listing Vero Cell for emergency use to allow the vaccine to be used as part of the COVAX initiative, WHO noted the vaccine’s efficacy for symptomatic and hospitalised patients is estimated to be 79 per cent, across all age groups, and recommended the Chinese vaccine for people 18 years and older, in a two-dose schedule with a spacing of three to four weeks.
Sinopharm set up a representative office in Việt Nam in 1993. The company supplies 85 per cent of the vaccines used in the National Expanded Programme on Immunisation in China.
The vaccines used in Việt Nam's inoculation campaign have been mainly AstraZeneca, including 2.4 million doses from COVAX, 405,600 doses delivered from the manufacturer via the Việt Nam Vaccine Company, and about 1 million doses donated by the Japanese government.
According to the latest report from the health ministry, 2,359,376 vaccine doses have been administered in Việt Nam as of 4pm Saturday, with 115,315 people receiving the full two doses. — VNS
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