Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said Thailand would first receive 2 million doses from China’s Sinovac, with 200,000 doses arriving in February, 800,000 in March and 1 million in April. He added the ministry will talk with employers and the Labour Ministry regarding expenses for vaccination of foreign workers.
Meanwhile, talks are due today with Russian authorities to procure the Sputnik V vaccine for Thailand.
Thai authorities also spoke with Johnson & Johnson last week, but no contract for its single-jab vaccine was agreed. The Health Ministry is concerned over the large number of doses in the proposed deal and their arrival at the end of the third quarter, which may overlap AstraZeneca shipments.
However, Thai officials want more vaccines registered with the Thai Food and Drug Administration (FDA) so private hospitals can meet demand.
China registered the Sinovac vaccine last week, meaning the Thai FDA should be able to register it soon, the ministry said.
The National Vaccine Committee also approved a two-phase strategy for Thailand’s vaccination programme.
In the first phase, 2 million Sinovac jabs will be given over 2-3 months to control the outbreak. The target group are medics, disease-control workers, people with underlying diseases, people over 60 years old, and industrial workers in red zones such as Samut Sakhon and areas of Bangkok, Tak and Chon Buri.
In the second phase, 61 million AstraZeneca jabs will cover seven groups: the general public, industrial workers, tourism personnel such as workers in hotels and entertainment venues, tour guides, pilots and crew, diplomats and international officials, and other types medical and public health personnel.
This phase will be completed in four months, accelerating from 5 million injections per month to 10 million per month.
National Vaccine Institute director Dr Nakhon Premsri revealed that 26 million doses of locally-made AstraZeneca vaccine should be available on schedule in June. However, the first shipment of 50,000 doses had been delayed and may not arrive in February, as scheduled. World vaccine production was currently insufficient to meet demand, he added.
The committee is also considering the Novavax vaccine to boost Thailand’s supply of doses.
Published : February 09, 2021
By : The Nation