A factory worker at Hà Nội's Quang Minh Industrial Zone is vaccinated against COVID-19 on Wednesday in the large-scale COVID-19 vaccination campaign. VNA/VNS Photo Minh Quyết
HÀ NỘI – The Ministry of Health has confirmed it will do its best to help facilitate the import, licensing and testing of COVID-19 vaccines.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính requested the Minister of Health to direct staff to support localities and businesses to access global supplies of COVID-19 vaccines where possible.
Many businesses and corporations have said they are willing to connect with suppliers of COVID-19 vaccines to purchase their own supplies.
Businesses and corporations have said they would keep a portion of the vaccines for their own use but the majority would be donated to the national COVID-19 vaccine fund to vaccinate people free of charge.
This would reduce the burden on the State budget and accelerate the Government’s vaccination drive, they said.
PM Chính has asked the ministry to issue guidelines on how the process would work for localities and businesses.
The ministry would be responsible for the management of vaccine quality as well as the licensing, preservation and inoculation process in a timely, safe and effective manner. It would issue guiding documents on the priority vaccines for use by organisations and individuals who have donated to the national COVID-19 Vaccine Fund.
A medical officer holds up the COVID-19 vaccine before injecting into a worker at Hà Nội's Quang Minh Industrial Zone.
Minister of Health Nguyễn Thanh Long said as instructed by the Politburo as well as the Government, the ministry has encouraged all localities and businesses to participate in the search for and importation of COVID-19 vaccines in an attempt to get the fastest, earliest and widest spread of vaccinations.
The ministry will continue issuing policies to encourage more localities and businesses to join the work in the future, he said.
In the case of the COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer requesting an exemption from liability, the ministry would be responsible for reporting to the Government and be the Government agency to confirm this requirement.
In cases in which enterprises do not meet the required conditions for vaccination, the ministry would direct the national vaccination programme to conduct the vaccinations, he said.
Long affirmed that the ministry would review all processes and procedures related to the licensing and quality assessments of COVID-19 vaccines. It would minimise the processing time of administrative procedures but still ensure vaccine quality.
For vaccines that have been licensed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), within five days of receiving the legal, valid and authorised documents from the manufacturer, the ministry’s advisory council on the use of vaccines would evaluate and grant a licence for the vaccine.
After being imported to Việt Nam, within two days after receiving all legal and valid documents on the import of the vaccine, the council would review all the documents and allow the shipment of that batch of vaccines to be released and used in accordance with WHO regulations.
The ministry encouraged the business community to directly import vaccines to Việt Nam if they can get official authorisation from the manufacturer.
For localities that have worked with the ministry and confirmed they can buy vaccines from businesses and corporations, the ministry would assist localities to do so.
However, it noted that there are currently many parties acting as representatives of vaccine brokers.
Therefore, localities, corporations and businesses should work directly with vaccine manufacturers or authorised manufacturers instead of third parties to avoid the risk of buying fake vaccines or scams per a warning from Interpol.
Việt Nam began its vaccination drive on March 8, using the AstraZeneca vaccine from the UK. Currently, the ministry has approved the Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Sputnik V, and Sinopharm’s Vero Cell for COVID-19 vaccine for domestic emergency use.
Four Made-in-Việt Nam vaccines are under development. VNS