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Vietnam strives to have homegrown vaccines next month



Vietnamese Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính has asked for more efforts, determination and effective coordination among ministries, agencies and individuals to be able to have the first made-in-Việt Nam COVID-19 vaccines ready next month.

He spoke at a meeting held with scientists, units and businesses involving in COVID-19 vaccine research and production yesterday to seek solutions and promote vaccine production.

The Government has put special attention on promoting the production of vaccines as soon and as much as possible to vaccinate people amid the global shortage and complicated development of the pandemic.

The Prime Minister has had five meetings to discuss the research, technology transfer and production of homemade vaccines during a short period of time and visited vaccine research and production facilities in Hà Nội and HCM City, which demonstrated the Government’s special attention to this task.

In order to have COVID-19 vaccines, it was necessary to comprehensively implement the import of vaccines, transfer of vaccine production technology and research and production of homegrown vaccines, he said. Of which, the research, technology transfer and production of homemade vaccines played an important role.

He asked participants to make clear difficulties in vaccine research and production in order to work together to find solutions.

All sides needed to coordinate closely and proactively implement assigned tasks with full responsibilities, he said.

At the meeting, the Ministry of Health and related agencies reported the situation and progress of vaccine production technology transfer, research, clinical trials and production of homegrown COVID-19 vaccines, including the research, production and clinical trials of the Nano Covax vaccine which is produced by Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC based on recombinant DNA/protein technology; the Covivac vaccine which has been researched and produced by the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals under the Ministry of Health; and ARCT-154 vaccine which was purchased with technology transferred to VinBioCare Biotechnology JSC, a unit of Việt Nam’s leading multisectoral conglomerate Vingroup, from Arcturus Therapeutics Holding Incorporation, USA.

Lieutenant-General Đỗ Quyết, Director of the Military Medical University, which joined the research and clinical trials of the Nano Covax vaccine, said the determination of the Government and the Prime Minister encouraged scientists and research and production agencies and affirmed they would strictly abide by professional and scientific regulations and processes and ensure objectiveness and honesty in vaccine research and judgement of human trials of vaccines.

Chairman of the Advisory Council for the Registration of Circulation of Drugs and Medicinal Ingredients Lê Văn Truyền said the council will implement assessments as soon as possible to submit to the Ministry of Health for granting circulation certificates for the vaccines in line with regulations after the ministry’s Ethical Evaluation Committee in Biomedical Research evaluated the vaccines following the results of trials.

Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam said it was essential to speed up the research and production of homegrown vaccines to soon get a licence for emergency use as more vaccines are needed to inoculate as many people as possible at this time.

After October, more vaccines will arrive in Việt Nam in a large quantity with 60 million doses of vaccines scheduled for the fourth quarter. Projects receiving vaccine production technology transfer from foreign partners have started to be implemented. Homegrown vaccines will soon complete human trials.

PM Chính urged scientists, management staff and producers to speed up the progress and simplify administrative procedures but ensure tightened professional and scientific factors in the spirit of speed, safety and efficacy as this task is related to the health and lives of people.

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Central Bank urged to save collapsing local industries



The National Freedom Front (NFF) has requested the immediate intervention of the Governor of the Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal to save micro, small and medium scale industries badly affected by the current economic downturn caused by the Covid-19.

The NFF parliamentary group comprises six members, including one National List.

Industries Minister Wimal Weerawansa, on behalf of the SLPP constituent parties, has warned of steep increase in unemployment, drop in the contribution made by small and medium scale industries to the national economy and the further widening of the gap between the rich and poor.

Party sources told The Island that the NFF had decided to take up the urgent matter because, in spite of repeated promises, those who had been severely affected were yet to receive assistance. Minister Weerawansa has urged the Central Bank to restructure loans obtained by affected industries and also extend the moratorium.

Weerawansa has in a letter dated Oct.18, told Cabraal that according to a survey conducted by the Industrial Development Board, micro, small and medium enterprises suffered serious setbacks. However, of the loans made available through the banking sector, a substantial segment had been disbursed among major players, the Minister said, while pointing out that in other countries in the region more than 50 percent of total loans were made available to micro, small and medium industries.

Unfortunately, here in Sri Lanka they received approximately 15 percent of the total given as loans, the minister said.

Minister Weerawansa said that though industries suffered, almost all state and private banks had recorded much improved performances with significant profits.

The Minister said that following his intervention with the cabinet of ministers, the government agreed on a plan of action to deal with the situation. It would be the responsibility of the Central Bank to implement the agreed proposals, he said.


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So far no side effects among Pfizer vaccinated 15,000 A/L students



By Rathindra Kuruwita

Over 15,000 GCE AL students had been vaccinated with Pfizer and there had not been any side effects, Colombo District Director of Health Dr. Dilip Liyanage told the media yesterday.

He said that the Ministry of Education had given them a list of 20,688 that needed to be vaccinated.

“We would like to assure parents that there is no need to worry. Over 15,000 children have been vaccinated and there have been no problems so far. Trust the health professionals and vaccinate your child at the first opportunity you get,” he said.

Dr. Liyanage added that children who missed their chance to get vaccinated on weekdays, can get vaccinated at the MOH office near their home.

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Govt. approves prohibition of cattle slaughter



The government has approved the prohibition of cattle slaughter. The decision was announced at the weekly Cabinet meeting at the Information Department yesterday (19). The government said the relevant laws and regulations, including those passed by Local Government authorities would be amended for that purpse.

The Legal Draftsman has drafted Bills to amend the following acts and ordinances.

• Authority 272 of the Cattle Slaughter Ordinance No. 9 of 1893

• Act No. 29 of 1958 Concerning Animals

• Municipal Councils Ordinance – Section 252

• Section 255 of the Municipal Councils Ordinance

• Ordinance No. 15 of the Urban Council Act of 1987

The Attorney General has certified that the said Bills do not clash with the provisions of the Constitution.

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