Govt must reveal full details of vaccine contracts, say academics and media
Thai academics and mass media workers on Monday issued a statement demanding that the government reveal details of its Covid-19 vaccine management and distribution, under open standards for data.
The statement, which was signed by 333 scholars, mass media agencies and members of the public, said the government must publish details of the process by which each type of vaccine was proposed, approved, procured and distributed in Thailand. The documents must include the number of doses procured, their delivery dates, penalties in case of late delivery, and other details specified in the purchasing contract, it added.
“Furthermore, the government must provide information on vaccine allocation, vaccination plan and daily updates on the vaccination rate with details of vaccine type, target groups and responsible agencies in each province,” read the statement.
“We exercise our right under section 41 (1) of the 2017 Constitution and the Official Information Act of 1997, which state that a person and community shall have the right to be informed and have access to public data or information in possession of a state agency as provided by law,” the statement continued. “We demand that the government provide the information under international open data standards, and in a machine-readable format (XLS or CSV file type) so that people can easily access the information.”
“This demand aims to promote the fair and efficient management and distribution of vaccine and create a cooperative atmosphere between public and private sectors so that we can overcome this crisis together,” said the network.
The statement was issued following a leaked letter from AstraZeneca to the Thai Public Health Ministry that showed the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company was contracted to supply just 5-6 million doses of vaccine per month. The revelation contradicted the Thai government’s claim that it had procured 10 million doses of AstraZeneca per month for the rest of the year and stirred further public concern over authorities’ management of the Covid-19 crisis.