Vietnam’s Ministry of Health has given a nod to a Covid-19 vaccine jointly developed by the US-based firm Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech Inc. for emergency use.
The vaccine, called Comirnaty, is the fourth Covid-19 vaccine authorized to be administered to Vietnamese people.
Vials labeled "Comirnaty Covid-19 Vaccine". Photo: Ministry of Health
Vietnam's health ministry has asked Pfizer Ltd.Co in the country to be responsible for cooperating with vaccine manufacturers to ensure its production, safety and quality.
Pfizer Vietnam will also cooperate with the ministry's Administration of Science, Technology and Training to evaluate the vaccine's safety and effectiveness while working with the National Institute for Control of Vaccines and Biologicals to assess the inoculant before the vaccine could be put into use.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Comirnaty vaccine is a messenger RNA (mRNA) based vaccine against Covid-19 disease. The mRNA instructs the cell to produce proteins of the S antigen (a piece of the spike protein unique to the novel coronavirus) to stimulate an immune response.
Efficacy shown in clinical trials in participants with or without evidence of prior infection with SARS-CoV-2 and who received the full series of vaccines (two doses) was approximately 95% based on a median follow-up of two months, WHO said.
Germany's BioNTech Inc. has recently informed the health ministry that it could provide 31 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to Vietnam and the detailed supply roadmap will be announced at the shortest time possible.
The mass vaccination in Vietnam began on March 8 for adults above 18. It has so far covered around 1.3 million people using the AstraZeneca inoculant, of whom over 38,000 have been given two shots.
The Vietnamese government has said it is stepping up negotiations with vaccine manufacturers in the US, Russia, and some other countries to ensure a total supply of 150 million doses for 70% of its population this year.
Vietnam has approved three types of Covid-19 vaccines for emergency use: one by British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca, one by China's Sinopharm, and the Sputnik V vaccine from Russia.
The health ministry said it is also in discussion to approve other firms including Moderna or Johnson&Johnson for emergency use.