AstraZeneca admits it can supply only half of monthly target to Thailand
AstraZeneca has said it can only supply about half of its monthly target of vaccine doses to Thailand, according to the National Vaccine Institute.
The company said it currently has local capacity to produce only 15-16 million doses per month, 5-6 million of which are reserved for Thailand, said the institute’s director Dr Nakorn Premsri. The original target was 10 million doses per month.
AstraZeneca has therefore asked the Public Health Ministry to extend the timeline for delivery of 61 million doses to Thailand from the end of this year to May 2022.
The delay would be another blow to the country’s mass vaccination programme, which ran short of vaccine soon after launching last month. Barely 5 per cent of the Thai population has been vaccinated, while the daily Covid-19 caseload is soaring above 9,000 and placing severe pressure on the health system. AstraZeneca doses for Thailand and the region are being produced at Siam Bioscience plant in Nonthaburi, but deliveries have already been delayed.
Nakorn said the institute has approved a framework to speed up procurement of another 120 million doses next year, including second-generation vaccines to fight new variants like Delta. The target for delivery is the first quarter of 2022.
Negotiations were underway with producers of mRNA, viral vector, and subunit protein vaccines, said Nakorn.
Phase 3 trials of the Novavax subunit vaccine in Cuba showed it was 90 per cent effective against Covid-19 infection, he added.
The Vaccine Institute is also accelerating moves to cooperate with other countries for transfer of technology to produce inactivated and mRNA vaccines, said Nakorn.