Vietnam will receive 30 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in 2021, a Vietnamese health official confirmed on January 4.
With a double-dose regime given about a month apart, delivery from the UK-based university and pharmaceutical firm will be used to inoculate some 15 million people.
Deputy Minister of Health Truong Quoc Cuong said the delivery of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab, which is reportedly more affordable and doesn’t require super-cold storage conditions, will be done in phases.
The health ministry is in talks to buy the four most notable Covid-19 jabs, the Oxford-AstraZeneca, the US’ Pfizer-BioNTech, Russia’s Sputnik V, and an unspecified one from China, Cuong said. The US-based Pfizer has also tentatively agreed to a fourth-quarter delivery, he said.
Meanwhile, the maker of the Sputnik V vaccine, developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, is asking to manufacture the vaccine in Vietnam under a technology transfer agreement with a company under the management of the Vietnamese health ministry.
The price of the vaccines will not differ significantly, Cuong said, noting that the requirements of the jabs’ storage, delivery and rollout, as well as payment issues, matter more and need coordination from different ministries and agencies and even instructions from the Politburo given the unprecedented nature of this undertaking.
The other thing to consider is that these vaccines have varying levels of effectiveness in clinical trials, some reaching 65 per cent at the lowest while another could be as high as 94.5 per cent, he said.
In addition to the commercial route, Vietnam is also eligible for support from the World Health Organisation- (WHO) led Covid-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility which aims to provide equitable access to vaccines.
Cuong said the initiative promised inoculation for 16 per cent of Vietnamese population at the cheapest cost possible.
VIET NAM NEWS/ANN