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Vietnam's Covid-19 Vaccine Not Ready for Mass Distribution Until 2022

As they say, patience is a virtue.

Viet Nam News reports that, while Vietnamese scientists are working overtime to produce a domestic COVID-19 vaccine, the public will have to wait a while before mass vaccination is available.

According to the news source, Minister of Health Nguyễn Thanh Long said at a meeting of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control on Monday that the mass rollout of a domestic vaccine is unlikely to take place until 2022.

He noted that Nanogen Biopharmaceutical Company, based in Saigon, is now working with the Vietnam Military Medical University to recruit volunteers for the first phase of human trials of its vaccine candidate, which is considered the most promising of four potential domestic vaccines.

Both Long and Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam stressed the importance of continued vigilance in the face of the pandemic, including the continuation of strict border management and improved supervision of both home and centralized quarantine facilities.

VnExpress adds that over 300 Nanogen employees have been working overtime on their potential vaccine for the last six months, and have now reached the human trial phase of their result, called Nanocovax. The company has tested this vaccine on rats and monkeys, reportedly with minimal side effects.

During the first stage of human trials, 60 volunteers will be broken up into three groups to receive different vaccine doses, two of which will be administered 28 days apart. If successful, Nanocovax is expected to go into mass production by May 2021 and cost VND500,000 per dose at most.

Tuoi Tre further reports in Vietnamese that the government is negotiating access to COVID-19 vaccines from the United Kingdom, Russia, China and the United States, though it is not currently known at what stage these discussions are.

A small number of doses of the Russian vaccine have been delivered to Vietnam's Ministry of Defense, but this vaccine has not been tested here. Furthermore, the Vietnamese government is in conversation with Pfizer, whose COVID-19 vaccine is currently being rolled out across the UK and is expected to begin distribution in the US this month.

[Photo via Tin Tuc]

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