Vietnam Vaccine JSC is keeping the very first Covid-19 vaccine doses in a freezer in Ho Chi Minh City while a specific vaccination plan is drawn up.
A container carrying the Covid-19 vaccine produced by AstraZeneca is delivered to the Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) facility of Vietnam Vaccine JSC (VNVC), importer of Covid-19 vaccines to Vietnam.
Ten containers with 117,600 AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine doses arrived at the city’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport on Wednesday morning.
The vaccine doses are part of the first batch of 30 million ordered by Vietnam. The vaccine is developed by British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca in collaboration with Oxford University.
VNVC freezer is said to have met international and Vietnamese standards on storage practices in general and medicine storage in particular.
As requested, AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine should be stored at a temperature of minus 2-8 degrees Celcius. The first doses are kept in a freezer with different security layers and monitored via a security camera system.
In all, VNVC has prepared 51 of such freezers where temperatures kept at minus 8 degrees. The company also has three super cold facilities in which temperatures range from minus 86 to minus 46 degrees Celcius should Vietnam imports other types of Covid-19 vaccines in the future. The company has put those facilities in HCMC, Da Nang and Hanoi.
Its super-cold storage system is equipped with an GSM alarm system, a wireless security product and remote device control, and all cold and ultra-cold storage facilities are equipped with high-tech on-site and remote temperature monitoring systems.
A VNVC staff inside a super-cold storage in HCMC. In all, its 51 freezers and three super-cold storage could store up to 170 million vaccine doses at once.
Deputy Minister of Health Truong Quoc Cuong inspects the operation of the super-cold storage. He said Vietnam and Thailand are the first Southeast Asian nations to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine and that the ministry would do its best to bring home the rest of the vaccine Vietnam has ordered as soon as possible.
The AstraZeneca vaccine has so far been available in 50 countries. It uses a replication-deficient chimpanzee viral vector based on a weakened version of a common cold virus (adenovirus) that causes infections in chimpanzees and contains the genetic material of the SARS-CoV-2 virus spike protein. After vaccination, the surface spike protein is produced, priming the immune system to attack the SARS-CoV-2 virus if it later infects the body. The vaccine has been demonstrated to have an efficacy rate of 62-90 percent.
The government has waived all duties and afforded the vaccines priority clearance to make sure they reach VNVC storage as fast as possible.
Covax, a global mechanism for developing, manufacturing and procuring Covid-19 vaccine candidates that help member countries access vaccines as they become available, has pledged to provide Vietnam with 4.9 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the first half and around 33 million doses in the second half of this year.
Reported by Ngoc An, @Vnexpress