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Jab rollout picks up as 3 million doses to be delivered this week


Thailand expects delivery of 2 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine and a million doses of the Sinovac vaccine this week, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said on Wednesday.

“The first batch of 800,000 doses of AstraZeneca arrived on Monday and the remainder will arrive on Friday,” he said. “Since the vaccines have started arriving every week, the Department of Disease Control will speed up their delivery to different vaccination venues.”

As for the Infectious Disease Association of Thailand calling on the government to procure more mRNA vaccines for the public, Anutin said the government has finalised the purchase of 20 million doses from Pfizer and expects delivery in the fourth quarter of the year.

“The government will negotiate with more manufacturers next year to import mRNA and other types of vaccines to protect the population against different Covid-19 variants,” Anutin said.

“Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Medicine is also researching mRNA vaccines for local production and has made considerable progress so far,” he added.

When asked about the possibility of Thailand buying mRNA vaccines from countries that have leftover stocks, like Romania selling its leftovers to Denmark, Anutin said Thai law requires the importer of the vaccine to be registered locally.

“For instance, if we were to import more Pfizer vaccines, it will have to be done through Pfizer Thailand, as the vaccine has to come directly from their stock and not anywhere else. This is to guarantee the vaccine’s quality and safety,” he explained.

A source added that the other mRNA vaccine that has been approved for use in Thailand is the one produced by Moderna, which will be imported by Zuellig Pharma. The company has announced that its first batch of 5 million doses will be delivered over the fourth quarter of this year and the beginning of next year. The third alternative vaccine is Sinopharm’s Covilo, which uses inactivated virus, will be sold directly to private hospitals.

Published : June 30, 2021

By : THE NATION