Mass vaccine rollout at least two years away: health minister

Update: December, 09/2020 - 09:00
Experts of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology conduct tests and research on the SARS-CoV-2 virus. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Quyết

HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Health is racing against time to produce a COVID-19 vaccine, but the mass rollout of a vaccine is at least two years away, Minister of Health Nguyễn Thanh Long said at a meeting in Hà Nội on Monday.

Speaking at the meeting of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, Long said the HCM City-based Nanogen Biopharmaceutical Co Ltd, one of the four units creating a COVID-19 vaccine in Việt Nam, is scheduled to work with the Việt Nam Military Medical University to recruit volunteers for the first phase of human trials on Thursday.

Long also asked for tightened border management as well as the supervision of quarantine at home and lodging facilities.

“Any violations of pandemic prevention and control regulations must be strictly handled,” he said.

Strict prevention and control measures are still needed as Viet Nam would only be able to provide mass COVID-19 vaccinations in the second quarter of 2022 at the earliest, Long told the meeting.

Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam, head of the committee, urged stronger prevention measures, especially during the winter and upcoming major national events.

He highlighted the responsibility of local authorities for implementing relevant guidelines issued by the health ministry and other agencies.

Strict prevention measures must be maintained on flights, the Deputy PM said, stressing the need to seriously follow regulations on concentrated quarantine, and continue health monitoring in localities of those returning from concentrated quarantine facilities.

The Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Education and Training, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, and the Ministry of Industry and Trade should have documents urging and inspecting localities to implement regulations on prevention and control the pandemic.

The Deputy PM also proposed to strictly review the compliance with regulations of the authorities at all levels in implementing quarantine of diplomatic staff, technical staff, experts, and traders who enter Việt Nam for a short time. — VNS