|A dose of Evusheld comprises of an injection of the tixagevimab/cilgavima monoclonal antibody combination. — Photo courtesy of the Tâm Anh Hospital|
HÀ NỘI — Tâm Anh General Hospital in Hà Nội and HCM City will start rolling out AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 long-acting antibody combination Evusheld on Saturday.
The private hospital chain was the first unit to be granted permission by the health ministry to distribute this drug as pre-exposure prophylaxis of COVID-19, meant to provide protection for people who can't receive the vaccination for medical reasons (such as allergies), those that are immuno-compromised and people whose bodies don’t generate a sufficient immune response against COVID-19 even after receiving vaccines.
The hospital will offer Evusheld injections from Monday to Saturday from 7 am and 4:30 pm, and on Sunday between 7 am and 4 pm.
People who come to get the injections will receive free blood pressure checks and SpO2 measurements, to ensure safety.
AstraZeneca Việt Nam and Việt Nam Vaccine Company (VNVC), the importer of the antibody medication as well as COVID-19 vaccines from the British-Swedish biopharmaceutical group, delivered the first batch on Thursday.
The Vietnamese health ministry has stressed Evusheld is not a vaccine and is not meant to use in place of vaccines. Evusheld is also not authorised to be used in patients with COVID-19 or to prevent COVID-19 infection in people who have been exposed to confirmed positive patients.
The price is very costly, with an official price tag at VNĐ19.7 million (about US$860) per dose. This is the cost of the drugs, the administration fees and pre-injection and post-injection examination fees, whereas the COVID-19 vaccines are completely free of charge in Việt Nam.
With over 204 million doses of vaccines administered in the country of 98 million population, Việt Nam is one of the most highly vaccinated countries in the world.
So far, 47 of 63 localities have reported full vaccine coverage in the adult population of higher than 95 per cent. Another 57 localities have over 90 per cent of their children aged 12-17 years already fully vaccinated against COVID-19. — VNS