Việt Nam to soon produce its own COVID-19 vaccine

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Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam answers questions raised by reporters about his health after taking two shots of Việt Nam’s own COVID-19 vaccine. — Photo chinhphu.vn

Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam spoke to media after he received Việt Nam’s own COVID-19 vaccine, Nano Covax, developed by HCM City-based biopharmaceutical company Nanogen.

Can you tell us about your reaction and health situation after getting trial jabs of Vietnamese-made COVID-19 vaccine, NanoCovax?

My health is absolutely normal after taking the second shot of homegrown Nanocovax vaccine. There were some reactions as the doctors expected.

Before the injection, the doctors warned of some possible reactions. Doctors have also prepared for anaphylaxis cases that require immediate help. As far as I know, none of the volunteers had had such an emergency response.

I experienced a mild headache after receiving the first shot, no fever. The response to the second shot was more pronounced. I got a mild fever for one day after getting the second shot. I also had a headache but it was all over after two days.

Do you have any hesitation before deciding to join human trials of the vaccine?

I did not hesitate. From the beginning of 2020, we determined that it is urgent to promote research and produce a vaccine in this country because our country is very populous, not rich and the pandemic can be prolonged and has variants. I was determined to take part in the human trials of the vaccine being developed by Vietnamese scientists.

By mid-December 2020, the NanoCovax vaccine was tested in the first phase, but only for healthy volunteers under 50 years old. I can only participate from the second stage.

What would you say to people who believe the vaccine in its trial stage is too risky, so senior leaders should not take part?

Everyone has their own thoughts and assessments. I think everyone’s health is precious. I am a deputy prime minister but I am first and foremost a Vietnamese citizen. As head of the National Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, I need to do everything I can so that we can get the vaccine ready as soon as possible.

What is the next stage and when will Việt Nam’s own COVID-19 vaccine be available?

The vaccine is still being tested. Test results so far are good. I got the first shot at the end of February, the second one at the end of March. After the first shot, antibodies produced by vaccines were good .

However, all are in the testing process. We expect to accelerate the human trial process so that we can start manufacturing our own vaccine by the end of the third quarter this year but we are not sure when the homegrown vaccine will be available.

Therefore, we still have to strictly implement the prevention measures as we have done so far. That’s the Ministry of Health (MoH)’s 5K message namely wearing masks, frequent disinfection, maintaining a safe distance, refrain from gatherings and making health declarations. — VNS

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