Ministry spokesman Thanee Saengrat issued the clarification in response to a news report that Thailand had changed its attitude on joining the Covax Facility. The report said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in April, had directed the Permanent Representative of Thailand to the United Nations in Geneva to approach the Covax Facility run by the World Health Organization (WHO) for a vaccine swap arrangement.
The vaccine swap arrangement is an agreement between two parties when one country wishes to obtain vaccines from another that has surplus vaccine and return it later when there is enough vaccine in the country, the spokesman said.
The exchange arrangement is a practice that many countries have, such as between South Korea and the United States, the spokesman said.
Entering into a vaccine swap arrangement is separate from negotiating a vaccine purchase agreement or joining the Covax Facility, Thanee said, adding it was just one dimension of cooperation that the Thai side can have with the Covax Facility.
The cooperation between Thailand and the Covax Facility is in terms of being a donor country, he said. He added that in December last year, the Thai government had donated US$100,000 (THB3.2 million) to The Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator through the WHO to support the development and allocation of vaccines and drugs as Global Public Goods.
The Thai government will provide another $100,000 through the ACT Accelerator mechanism directly to the Covax Facility to support vaccine operations for the global community, he said.
Thailand is also considering the possibility of collaborating with the Covax Facility in the future by donating vaccines when Thailand has enough supplies for the country.
The opportunities for vaccination for Thai people are not underestimated, he assured.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sought a vaccine swap arrangement with other countries in addition to the Covax Facility, such as Israel, the UAE, Bahrain, Australia, the United States and South Korea, and the Thai proposal is under consideration, he said. Some countries, such as Australia and South Korea, have already informed that they are still facing a shortage of vaccines in their countries, the spokesman said.
Published : May 30, 2021
By : The Nation