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Why can’t the private sector procure Covid-19 vaccines?

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Virologist Dr Yong Poovorawan has stepped in to explain why private companies are not yet allowed to import Covid-19 vaccine to Thailand.

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On Monday, the Chulalongkorn University professor responded via Facebook to people inquiring why private companies and hospitals could not procure their own vaccine.

He explained that the Thai and other governments around the world had registered Covid-19 vaccines for emergency use. This meant responsibility for any side effects from inoculation lay with the government, not the vaccine producers.

Therefore, Covid-19 vaccine can only be imported under the government’s contract.

Currently, vaccine producers will not negotiate with private purchasers who have no government authorisation.

However, Dr Yong said private companies will be permitted to export shots once Covid-19 vaccines are fully registered, with responsibility for any side effects passed to the producers.

Why can’t the private sector procure Covid-19 vaccines?

Thailand launched vaccination last Monday (March 1) after receiving its first shipments of Sinovac and AstraZeneca shots.

The first phase of vaccination covers medics and people with underlying disease, as well as residents of high-risk provinces – Samut Sakhon, Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Nakhon Pathom, Tak, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan, Samut Songkhram and Ratchaburi.

The second phase covers international travellers including businesspeople, airline staff, diplomats, and members of international organisations.

Thailand has ordered 63 million doses of vaccine, enough to inoculate 31.5 million people in 2021 or roughly 45 per cent of its 66 million people.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand expects the country to reopen to foreign tourists in the third quarter of this year as vaccination rolls out across the world.

Published : March 08, 2021

By : THE NATION