Source: Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Acting Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long made the statement while delivering a speech at a workshop on the introduction of vaccine against COVID-19 in Vietnam.
The event was attended by Dominic Raab, First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs of the UK, on the occasion of his official visit to Vietnam.
Domestic and international experts at the event, held by the Vietnamese Ministry of Health, PATH and the British Embassy in Hanoi, discussed preparations for the use of COVID-19 vaccines in the world and in Vietnam, aimed at assisting the country in implementing a national strategic plan as soon as the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available.
Speaking at the seminar, Acting Minister Long emphasised that manufacturers, research institutions and countries are making it their top priority and that the race is on to develop a possible vaccine against COVID-19 that can be supplied to the market as soon as possible to help control the epidemic and bring back normal life.
According to the World Health Organisation, as of September 24, 187 COVID-19 candidate vaccines are undergoing research worldwide, of which 38 are undergoing clinical trials, while 149 others are in pre-clinical research.
Congratulating the UK on its great strides in the research for a possible COVID-19 vaccine, which is now in phase 3 clinical trial and soon to be finalised for the market, Long expressed his hope that both the governments of Vietnam and the UK, with a close and long-term strategic partnership, could reach an agreement on vaccine supply.
On the Vietnamese side, according to Long, the Vietnamese Ministry of Health has also actively implemented research and production activities for possible domestic vaccines as well as increasing its access to vaccines around the world. Specifically, Vietnam is one of 92 countries participating in the COVAX Facility – a Gavi-coordinated pooled procurement mechanism for new COVID-19 vaccines – and is committed to support from Gavi COVAX AMC. With the goal of supplying 2 billion doses of a vaccine to countries by the end of 2021, accounting for about 20% of the population of the member countries of the COVAX Facility, Vietnam will have the opportunity to access and be provided vaccines from the catalogue of COVAX AMC.
The Vietnamese Ministry of Health has directed domestic manufacturers to increase vaccine research and production activities. The four leading Vietnamese manufacturers are concentrating their resources and efforts on this work, with an aim of having at least one manufacturer capable of putting a candidate vaccine into phase II and III clinical trials in Vietnam next year.
In addition to the two possible supplies of vaccines (COVAX Facility) and the above-mentioned domestically produced vaccine source, Vietnam is also actively looking for other sources of vaccines through direct contact with manufacturers abroad. In parallel with the search for vaccine supply, the ministry has also prepared legal bases to promote testing procedures and circulation registration for possible COVID 19 vaccines.
Previously, in July, with the technical support of PATH and financial support from the UK Government, the Ministry of Health organised a workshop on production, clinical trials, and a licence for the registration and use of a COVID-19 vaccine in Vietnam in order to unify guidelines, principles and plans to implement research, production, clinical trials, and the registration of any COVID-19 vaccine.
Speaking at the seminar, Dominic Raab emphasised that cooperation between the UK and Vietnam would help protect the citizens of both countries and prevent a second wave of global COVID-19 infections. The UK pledged £50 million to assist ASEAN countries to cope with COVID-19, including a newly committed £6.3 million to strengthen the health system and restore the economy of ASEAN, he added.