Vietnam's envoy to India Pham Sanh Chau speaks to WION about Covaxin's pending approval by WHO. Photograph:( WION )
Vietnam also sent assistance to India amid the second wave of coronavirus pandemic in the country in form of ventilators, oxygen cylinders and masks
Vietnam's envoy to India Pham Sanh Chau has said that his country is waiting for World Health Organization (WHO) to give approval to the Indian coronavirus vaccine Covaxin, even as they are sourcing more vaccines globally.
Speaking to WION's Sidhant Sibal, Pham Sanh Chau said, "Covaxin is not yet approved by WHO for emergency use, that is why we are waiting for this approval by WHO and then we will intensify the discussion".
Covaxin is an Indian vaccine made by Bharat Biotech, headquartered in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad. Bharat Biotech submitted its application to the WHO for Emergency Use Listing (EUL) on April 19 and a pre-submission meeting will happen later this month.
Chau, himself, has been recently got Covaxin jab at Delhi's Dr Ram Manohar Lohia hospital.
Vietnam also sent assistance to India amid the second wave of coronavirus pandemic in the country. The first batch of aid consisted 109 ventilators and 50 oxygen cylinders. The next batch had 100 ventilators, 275 concentrators, 1300 oxygen cylinders, and 50,000 masks.
WION: How is Vietnam assisting India when it comes to the coronavirus crisis in the country?
Pham Sanh Chau: I think one of the most salient features of the relief that Vietnam provided to India is that most of the relief comes from people, from individuals and organisations which are not state agencies. So, there is a big campaign at the national level of collecting relief to provide to Indian friends. From children to the elderly, to the religious people, everyone is trying to contribute small things in order to support India. So, this is the solidarity, sentiment and love that Vietnamese people give to Indian friends at this difficult moment.
WION: Vietnam has recently reported a new hybrid variant found in the UK (Alpha) and India (delta). How is the country dealing with the pandemic?
Pham Sanh Chau: We have just been hit by the fourth wave as it has been identified since April 27. This has increased the cases from 1600 to more than 6000. It means over the past one month, the number of infections has doubled the total infection that Vietnam has incurred over the past one and half years. This mutant is spreading very fast. So, we are still analysing the sources of that and are waiting for the final certification of health authorities.
WION: What kind of global cooperation is underway when it comes to Vietnam, especially on vaccines?
Pham Sanh Chau: Like other Asian countries, Vietnam badly needs vaccines. Recently, we placed an order recently with Pfizer and are in the process of negotiating with Moderna. We have also signed an agreement with AstraZeneca. Vietnam also has the opportunity to purchase Covaxin, but it is not yet approved by WHO for emergency use. We are waiting for this approval by WHO and then we will intensify the discussion and drafting of the contract for the purchase of this Covaxin for Vietnamese people.