dpa/GNA – Nanocovax, Vietnam’s first locally-developed Covid-19 vaccine, is expected to be ready for use domestically by the fourth quarter of 2021, the Ministry of Health said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The containment of the pandemic depends largely on the development of vaccines,” the ministry said in the statement.

A total of four separate Vietnamese companies are working to produce vaccines domestically, although Nanocovax is significantly further ahead in the development process.

Vietnam received its first Covid-19 vaccines in late February when 117,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, approved for use in the country in early January, arrived at Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat Airport.

Vietnam began offering Covid-19 vaccinations in March, with front-line health workers and vulnerable citizens first on the list.

The South-East Asian nation said it expects to receive at least 60 million vaccine doses in 2021, 30 million of which will be provided through the World Health Organization’s COVAX equality programme. Another 1.3 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are expected in April through this scheme.

On February 26, Vietnam’s Ministry of Health approved Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine for emergency use. Health officials have also approved the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine.

In August 2020, Vietnam registered to purchase between 50 and 150 million doses of the Russia-made vaccine, although it remains unclear exactly how many doses the country intends to buy.

To date, Vietnam has officially recorded 2,560 coronavirus cases and 35 deaths.

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