Got my Sinopharm Vero cell vaccine

Expat Life Aug 14, 2021

A week after registering to get the covid vaccine, I got my appointment. Not reallyreally an appointment, my landlord told me my name was on the local ward list to get the vaccine. I was told that the vaccine available was Sinopharm's Vero cell which is not an issue for me. I did not want the AstraZeneca viral vector vaccine and I am not particular keen on trying the new mRNA vaccines.

Vero cell is a inactivated vaccine:

What is an Inactivated Vaccine?
Inactivated vaccines are composed of dead, or inactivated, viruses and bacteria, and therefore differ from live but attenuated vaccines.

To relate, most of our past vaccines are inactivated vaccines. I had many in the past since I was in the Marines and later the Peace Corps. When I last had my blood tested for both the plague and rabies, the tests found I still had the antibodies for them even after two decades. So I am quite confident about Vero cell being the same. You can learn more about the types of vaccines watching the video below.

Morning Jab #1 Process

In the morning, my landlord took me to the test site which was quite near. It was located at the main primary school in my Ward. I got there about 8:40 am. The process was quite fast. You will meet around 7 people in the process before getting the jab. The first seat you fill out the forms (picture below). You will then move up where they will process your forms. Then you are taken to the next desk to get your blood pressure taken. The sleeve did not fit on my arm but luckily I took my own readings from home. The attendent wrote that down.

After that you speak with I assumed a nurse or doctor. She asked questions about your medical history and will confirm if you knew it was the Vero cell vaccine. From there they take you to the 7th person who shows you the vaccine and then gives you the shot (mine was at 8:50 AM). Then you are directed to another room and asked to wait 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, you are processed, asked a couple more questions and then have your form stamped.  I left around 9:25 AM so the process was quite fast.

Your first set of seats. The second is above for people that completed their forms.
The entrance (and exit) to the school for vaccinations.
The final waiting room. I had to stay here for 30 minutes.
My stamped form. Vero cell is the vaccination produced by Sinopharm.

Side Effects?

My left arm where I got the shot is sore. I went home and napped for two hours. I do feel okay now. I will see how I feel tomorrow but from what I read online, Vero cell has the least side effects since it is an inactivated vaccine.

Why nobody wants Vero cell in Vietnam?

There is a lot of FUD going around about Vero cell in Vietnam. Partial of the blame goes to the local media for not actually doing any fact checking and pushing an anti-China agenda. Most people generally do not know the difference between inactivated vaccines (Vero cells) and mRNA  vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) let alone the viral vector vaccines (AstraZeneca). Nobody does their research.

Recently people have been posting the Peru article about the Vero cell vaccine's efficacy against the D variant. The 50.4% gets quoted but deep down the article it also mentioned that:

The vaccine, however, was 94% effective at preventing deaths after two doses, it added.

That is the number people should be paying attention too. In Israel, the efficacy against the D varient for Pfizer was 39% yet that never made the local news. Moderna was 72% which makes it the ideal choice for many who do not mind "experimenting" with mRNA vaccines. See the below video about vaccine effectiveness on why the effectiveness numbers are changing with new variants.

Still, I saw many Vietnamese opting to take the Vero cell vaccine. There will be more Vero cell vaccines coming to Vietnam which is good because we all will probably need the third booster shot. I can get my second shot in 21-28 days.

Vaccine Effectiveness and Variants Explained

A good perspective explaining the effectiveness of the current vaccines. In short, many of the effectiveness of the vaccines were recorded in late 2020 before the new variants emerged. Hence the high efficacy rates of certain vaccines were never tested in areas where the new variants except for Johnson & Johnson. So what will be important now are the actual current effective rates with the Delta and Lamda variants.

Why cases may still be high in Saigon

Finally, just look at this article below to understand why the numbers in HCMC may still be high.

HCMC streets bustle despite social distancing restrictions
Several HCMC streets were bustling with cars, motorbikes and other vehicles, just days from the formal ending of an ongoing current social distancing order.

Edit (8/15/2021): Of course the next day the above article is followed by this article:

Travel declaration rule jams HCMC Covid-19 checkpoints - VnExpress International
Many Covid checkpoints in HCMC were jammed with people and vehicles on the first day that HCMC required residents to make travel declarations.

In short, all drivers must declare either on Bluezone or online before making a trip across the city. They will have to produce a QR code when stopped at a checkpoint. With the rising numbers of new cases that started yesterday in HCMC, expect these checkpoints to be enforced.

Edit (8/16/2021): ...and it got scrapped after just a couple days. If you ever travel to HCMC, you would understand. Traffic is hectic here. A better system would be to have local Ward police scan the bikes BEFORE they leave their ward area. Then the police can routinely pull people over to check to enforce the regulation.

Traffic pileups cause HCMC to hastily revoke Covid travel declaration - VnExpress International
HCMC has scrapped a requirement for people to make a travel declaration at Covid-19 checkpoints just two days after introducing it.



A Japanese Amerasian's Journey from the Caspian Sea to Vietnam. I am a RPCV Kazakhstan and a former US Marine. I am also the Tech, Social Media & Marketing guy for Baba's Kitchen.

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