HCMC – Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long on June 4 met with representatives of Johnson & Johnson to discuss Vietnam’s need to buy the Covid-19 vaccine from the U.S. drugmaker.
Long said Vietnam wanted to gain as fast access to Covid-19 vaccine supplies as possible to boost the vaccination of its population. He expected Johnson & Johnson to work out a plan to supply its Covid-19 vaccine to Vietnam and consider setting up a Covid-19 vaccine plant in the country, the local media reported.
Many large Vietnamese companies want to get involved in the global Covid-19 vaccine chains. Vietnam is one of the 40 countries which can produce vaccines and Vietnam’s national regulatory authority has been certified as meeting the World Health Organization’s standards.
A Johnson & Johnson representative said it had committed to providing 200 million doses of its vaccine to the Covax program until the end of this year. Johnson & Johnson pledged to accelerate the provision of its vaccine through Covax so that Vietnam would have its vaccine at the earliest.
It also has plans to ask for the authorization of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine in Vietnam and will study the possibility of transferring its vaccine making technology to Vietnam.
Vietnam has approved three Covid-19 vaccines for emergency use: AstraZeneca of Britain, Sputnik V of Russia and Sinopharm of China.
The Ministry of Health has got pledges from drugmakers to supply more than 120 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine this year, enough for 75% of the country’s population. Of the total, Covax will provide 38.9 million doses at no charge.
Vietnam has ordered 30 million doses from AstraZeneca and has received two batches with over 400,000 doses.
The Ministry of Health has also bought 20 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, but when the first doses are delivered to Vietnam is unknown.
Meanwhile, Moderna has authorized Zuellig Pharma to distribute five million doses of its vaccine to Vietnam in May. HCMC has proposed buying these doses but they have yet to arrive in Vietnam.
On May 20, the Ministry of Health signed a contract to purchase 31 million doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, which are expected to be supplied to Vietnam in two 15.5-million-dose shipments, with one in the third quarter and the other in the fourth quarter.
Vietnam started the Covid-19 vaccination drive on March 8 using AstraZeneca’s vaccine. To date, more than 1.1 million doses have been administered, with more than 30,000 residents fully vaccinated.