21.06.2021, 15:30

China s Sinopharm Covid vaccine arrives in Vietnam

This is the first batch of coronavirus vaccine from China to be delivered to Vietnam

China s Sinopharm Covid vaccine arrives in Vietnam

Vaccines and syringes arrived in Hanoi's Noi Bai Airport, June 20, 2021. (Photo: VNE)

A batch of 500,000 doses of Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine touched down at Noi Bai International Airport Sunday afternoon along with over 500,000 needles and syringes donated by the Chinese government.

The allocation is preserved in specialized cold storage and gets regular temperature checks.

The vaccine called Vero Cell, Inactivated, produced by China’s Sinopharm company, will be prioritized to three groups: Chinese people residing in Vietnam; Vietnamese who want to work, study and doing business in China; those requiring this vaccine, especially locals in localities bordering China.

Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long receives the donation at Noi Bai International Airport (Photo: Vietnamnet)

Vietnam earlier approved the China vaccine for emergency use on June 3, making it the third candidate to be greenlit in the country, after Russia’s Sputnik V, and British-Swedish firm’s AstraZeneca.

Vero Cell was approved by China last December and by WHO for emergency use last month. The candidate is proved 78.1% effective on patients with Covid-19 symptoms and 73.5% on those without symptoms.

It has been shipped to over 70 countries and territories, including those in Southeast Asia such as Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

To date, over 450 million doses have been produced, with over 100 doses supplied to other countries and selling for enterprises.

The vaccines are kept in cold storage
(Photo: Vietnamnet)

All the flight crew are given immediate health checks
(Photo: Vietnamnet)

The vaccine boxes
(Photo: Vietnamnet)

How does the vaccine work?

Vero Cell, Inactivated vaccine prepares the body to defend itself against infection with SARS-CoV-2. The vaccine contains coronavirus that has been inactivated (killed) and cannot cause the disease. Covid-19 Vaccine (Vero Cell) Inactivated also contains an adjuvant, a substance that helps strengthen the immune response to the vaccine.

When a person is given the vaccine, their immune system identifies the inactivated virus as foreign and makes antibodies against it. If, later, the vaccinated person comes into contact with SARS-CoV-2, the immune system will recognize the virus and be ready to defend the body against it, according to European Medicine Agency.

Vials of Vero cell, Inactivated (Photo: VGP)

The health ministry recently confirmed that Vietnam will receive more than 120 million Covid-19 vaccine doses this year from multiple sources.

Of the vaccines to arrive in 2021, global vaccine access mechanism Covax would provide 38.9 million doses for free. Vietnam received around 2.5 million doses from Covax in April and May, all produced by British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca.

Vietnam has also ordered 30 million doses from AstraZeneca on its own, and has received over 400,000 doses.

The health ministry has also reached an agreement with Russia to get 20 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine within this year, though the exact time frames have not been announced.

The ministry said it has also successfully struck deals with Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech. Moderna said it would allow Asian pharmaceutical firm Zuellig Pharma to distribute 5 million doses to Vietnam in May, and HCMC has said it would purchase those doses.

Pfizer/BioNTech said it expects to provide Vietnam with around 31 million doses in the third and fourth quarters, with half delivered each quarter.

The ministry is also in talks for doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine from the UK.

Four vaccines are under development in Vietnam: Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC, the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals, Vaccine and Biological Production Company No. 1, and Polyvac.

Vietnam kicked-started its nationwide vaccine rollout on March 8, prioritizing frontline healthcare workers, police and border force, Steering Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control members, industrial workers, and other essential personnel. It has inoculated over 1.55 million recipients, with more than 60,000 fully inoculated.

HCMC on June 19 started its biggest vaccination campaign yet as the city faces a rising number of daily cases. Workers are first in line for the doses along with frontline workers.

To reach herd immunity, Vietnam must vaccinate 70% of its citizens aged 18 and over, equivalent to 150 million doses.

Jasmine Le