VN to give locally made COVID-19 vaccine to frontline workers in May: official

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A doctor at the Việt Nam Military Medical University in Hà Nội prepares the Nano Covax shot for a volunteer in the vaccine’s human trial starting in December last year. — VNA/VNS Photo Diệp Trương

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam might distribute its locally-made COVID-19 vaccine among high-risk frontline workers in the third phase of human trials in May this year.

Nguyễn Ngô Quang, Deputy Director of the Department of Science, Technology and Training under the Ministry of Health, told the press after a meeting of the National Council for Ethics in Biomedical Research convened Friday to officially greenlight the second phase of the human trials of Nano Covax on February 26, following the first phase’s results proving that the vaccine is safe and 90 per cent effective.

As many as 560 volunteers, aged from 18 to 65, will participate in the second phase, Quang said.

In addition to the testing at Việt Nam Military Medical University in Hà Nội, HCM City-based Pasteur Institute will also administer the testing of the vaccines in the southern province of Long An so more volunteers can be involved.

Unlike the first phase when volunteers got doses of 25mcg, 50mcg and 75mcg, this phase’s volunteers will be injected with only 50mcg and 75mcg doses (the most optimal dosage), according to the health official.

Quang said he hoped the second phase of Nano Covax trial could wrap up in April, and then in May, the vaccine could be used in high-risk groups like airport personnel, flight attendants, and other workers directly involved in the fight against the pandemic.

Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V has also been licensed to be rolled out after the second phase trial concluded.

Most of the volunteers of the first phase trial of Nano Covax that begun on December 17, 2020 are in stable conditions after vaccination. Only few reported pain at the injection spot and fever that disappeared after one to two days.

Developed by the Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC, Nano Covax is the first Việt Nam-made COVID-19 vaccine to enter human trials, with another two from other manufacturers to follow later this month and March.

Việt Nam is one of the 40 countries that have conducted human trials of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The country also has several other COVID-19 candidate vaccines being developed, by the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals (IVAC), the Company for Vaccine and Biological Production No 1 (VABIOTECH), and the Centre for Research and Production of Vaccines and Biologicals (POLYVAC). VNS

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