HCM CITY— Several provinces, enterprises and universities nationwide will provide free COVID-19 vaccinations to their residents, staff and students in order to share the financial burden for epidemic prevention and control.
The Ministry of Health has approved the import of 30 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, the first COVID-19 vaccine to obtain such authorisation in the country.
Under the ministry's plan, the Drug Administration of Việt Nam will import the first 200,400 doses of the vaccine for emergency use on February 28.
Following the ministry's approval, Hà Nội, Hải Phòng, and Quang Ninh and Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu provinces asked for approval from the Government and Ministry of Health to buy vaccines for their localities.
Hải Phòng authorities expect that it will be one of first localities in the country to buy the vaccine. It aims to provide free vaccinations to more than 2 million people.
Quảng Ninh Province will allocate VNĐ500 billion (US$21 million) to buy the vaccine and give priority to frontline workers.
Bà Rịa- Vũng Tàu Province and Hà Nội authorities said they would use funds from their budget and call on sponsors to buy vaccines to provide free vaccinations to local residents.
Coteccons Group has been working with the Vietnam Vaccine Joint-Stock Company to register in advance to buy vaccines for 8,000 staff and their families of Coteccons and Unicons, a member of the Coteccons Group.
Trần Thị Liễu Vinh, human resources director at Coteccons, said: "Free vaccination to staff not only helps prevent transmission but also makes us feel more confident in work amid the COVID-19 epidemic."
Phạm Thái Sơn, director of the Communications and Enrollment Centre at the HCM City University of Food Industry, told Việt Nam News that the university plans to buy 25,000 doses of the vaccines to provide to its lecturers and students.
According to AstraZeneca Vietnam, the primary analysis of Phase III clinical trials from the UK, Brazil and South Africa have confirmed that it is safe and effective at preventing COVID-19, with no severe cases and no hospitalisations more than 22 days after the first dose.
Việt Nam's locally made COVID-19 vaccine, Nano Covax, is in the second phase of human trials following the first phase results, which showed that the vaccine is safe and 90 per cent effective, according to the National Council for Ethics in Biomedical Research.
Besides Hà Nội, the People's Committee in the Mekong Delta province of Long An on February 21 said that Nano Covax could start its second phase human trial in the province on February 26, one month earlier than scheduled.
The second phase trials in Hà Nội and Long An will reduce the time needed to three months instead of the previously scheduled six months.
The number of registered volunteers in the second phase is nearly 1,000. The phase is expected to last until the end of March and the results will be reported in April.
The third phase of human trials is expected to start in May.
The other two locally made COVID-19 vaccines are in the first phase of human trials. VNS
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