Private sector wants govt to allow firms to freely import Covid-19 vaccines
A joint committee of three private sector organisations requested a meeting with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to discuss measures that would enable private firms to freely import Covid-19 vaccines, Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) president Suphan Mongkolsutee said on Wednesday.
The other two organisations forming the joint committee are the Thai Chamber of Commerce and the Thai Bankers’ Association.
“We would like to urge the government to allow private companies to import Covid-19 vaccines freely without having to go through government authorities to speed up the country’s vaccination rate and provide more vaccine choices for the people,” Suphan pointed out.
Currently, the government’s Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration stipulates that only five agencies can import vaccines – namely the Department of Disease Control, the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation, the National Vaccine Institute, the Thai Red Cross Society and the Chulabhorn Royal Academy.
“Furthermore, the Food and Drug Administration needs to approve all types of vaccines that are on the World Health Organisation’s Emergency Use List so that we can import them for use in Thailand without having to wait for vaccine manufacturers to register first,” Suphan said.
“Without the free import of Covid-19 vaccines, it would be impossible to hit the target of 100 million doses by the end of the year,” he warned.
“Under government procurement, we can administer only 300,000 doses per day, whereas in order to meet the target we should be providing 500,000 to 600,000 doses per day,” he said.
The joint committee also plans to discuss the possibility of controlling the price of antigen test kits to not more than THB100 apiece to promote wider testing and alleviate people’s financial burden.
“We have submitted a letter requesting a meeting with the prime minister and expect a response soon,” the FTI president added.