Government spent VND17,900 billion on fighting COVID-19 and supporting people

Vietnam has spent VND 17,900 billion (nearly USD 780 million) on fighting COVID-19 and supporting people affected by the pandemic, announced the Ministry of Finance.

Vietnam brings home 1,620 nationals from five continents from November 30 to December 6, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The ministry announced that State budget revenues over the recent 11 months of 2020 reached VND 1,261 trillion (around USD 55 billion), equal to 83.4% of this year's goal and witnessed a year-on-year decrease of 7.8%. 

So far this year, the Government has allocated more than VND 4,540 billion (nearly USD 200 million) for overcoming consequences caused by natural calamities, floods and the African swine fever disease, said the ministry. 

In addition, nearly 32,950 tons of rice from the national reserve have been provided as emergency relief for flood-hit people and those suffering hunger during between-crop period. 

Apart from efforts in COVID-19 prevention and control, the Vietnamese Government has instructed relevant agencies to focus resources on vaccine research and production at home, while stepping up coordination with prestigious foreign producers and suppliers so that Vietnam will have the vaccine as soon as possible.

According to Dr. Nguyen Ngo Quang, Deputy Director of the Agency of Science, Technology and Training under the Ministry of Health, Vietnam will officially launch human trials of a locally-made COVID-19 vaccine from December 10 at the Vietnam Military Medical University. After the two initial stages of trial injections, in phase 3, Vietnam will coordinate with three other countries to conduct multi-centre research on the trials.

In phase 1, the project will select volunteers. They volunteer to join according to their personal wish, without any pressure. The research team will provide them with the information about the study, including research objectives, the number of studies, research evaluation requests and other requests regarding the participation of volunteers, said Quang in an interview with Nhan Dan Online.

Based on the current pandemic situation, vaccine development studies in the world, and the special capabilities of Vietnam with its vaccine research and development system, being among only a few countries recognised by WHO under their set regulations for the National Regulatory Authorities (NRA), the vaccine developed by Nanogen (Nano Covax vaccine) is expected to be tested via a clinical trial over the next 12-14 months, said Quang.

Under the direction of the Ministry of Health, there is a collaboration between the manufacturer Nanogen and the Vietnam Military Medical University to develop a clinical trial research protocol for the Nano Covax vaccine with phase 1 starting from January 1 to April next year.

Vietnam currently has four COVID-19 vaccines produced by Nanogen, Vabiotech, Polyvac and the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals (IVAC) currently under research.

It is expected that phase 2 will be conducted from March - April 2021 on about 400 participants. Phase 2 requires the design of a control experiment group, which means we will use subjects who are at risk or related to epidemiological areas in a group to compare with the other group using the control drug.

On the basis of the phase 1 results, the governing body and the Ethics Council will allow the implementation of phase 2, followed by phase 3, which is scheduled to be tested on a minimum of 10,000 people sometime in August 2021.

In particular, phase 3 requires the implementation and evaluation of vaccines on high-risk subjects or the projection for SARS-CoV-2 in order to assess immunogenicity, Quang stressed.

Currently, Vietnam has had a very good epidemic response, so we have concerns regarding seeking research subjects who are at high-risk or positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus for phase 3.

At a recent cabinet meeting to report to the Prime Minister on COVID-19 prevention, the Minister of Health announced that Vietnam would officially coordinate with three countries namely Indonesia, India and Bangladesh to do multi-centre research, so that we can have a guaranteed minimum sample size of 10,000. According to an epidemiological report, these are the three countries in Asia with the highest epidemiological rates, Quang added.

Tu Anh