Cabinet injects Bt1bn into vaccine hunt


The Cabinet today approved Bt1 billion in funding for the National Vaccine Institute to support development and production of vaccines against Covid-19 and other diseases. The fund will come from emergency budget set aside for 2020, said deputy government spokeswoman Traisuree Taisaranakul.

Covid-19 is still spreading in several countries around the world, resulting in more than 23.44 million confirmed cases and 800,000 deaths as of Monday, the Public Health Ministry reported. The virus began to spread in Thailand at the beginning of January, triggering an economic slump.
The Bank of Thailand forecasts the economy will shrink by 5.3 per cent in 2020 with losses of up US$5.6 billion or 1.11 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).
Thailand has had success in limiting the outbreak but remains at risk of a second wave of Covid-19 due to the large number of global cases. A Covid-19 vaccine is now viewed as an essential tool if Thailand is to reopen to international tourism and revive the economy.
A blueprint for obtaining a Covid-19 vaccine was approved by the National Vaccine Committee on April 22. It lays out cooperation between the public and private sectors to implement two strategies: obtaining high-potential vaccine prototypes and technology from foreign countries, and supporting vaccine development in Thailand.
The latter is a longer-term strategy for achieving timely access to vaccines and building domestic capacity to develop and produce vaccines.