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Foreign Ministry clarifies cancellation of Moderna donation by Poland

The Foreign Affairs Ministry on Tuesday issued a statement saying Poland’s government had cancelled the donation of 3 million Moderna doses to Thailand after Thammasat University (TU), which negotiated with Polish government organisation Rzadowa Agencia Rezerw Strategicznych, said it intended to sell two-thirds of the donated vaccine via private partners to cover the import cost.

TU last month took to Facebook to acccuse the ministry of blocking Poland’s donation of Moderna vaccines by refusing to issue a document authorising the university as a representative of the Thai government in order to receive the vaccine donation.

However, ministry spokesperson Tanee Sangrat on October 27 clarified that the ministry did not have any legal authority to prohibit the university from making deals with foreign agencies or importing vaccines.

Tanee said the ministry responded to the TU via a letter suggesting that the university deal directly with the donor agency. He said nothing in the letter indicated that the ministry disagreed with or was opposed to the donation.

“TU informed the ministry that it intended to keep one-third of the donated vaccines for its own use, to be distributed at Thammasat University Field Hospital to the public free of charge,” the statement said on Tuesday. “As for the rest of the vaccine, TU planned to distribute them to private partners who would sell them to the interested public to cover the cost of importing the vaccine.”

The statement went on to say that the ministry has discussed the issue with its Polish counterpart and was informed that Poland's government did not allow the sale of donated vaccines, and that in order to sell the vaccine the seller must have market authorisation from Moderna, which TU was never granted. This has led to Poland’s decision to cancel the donation of Moderna vaccines to Thailand altogether.

“The Foreign Affairs Ministry could not issue a document authorising TU as a Thai government representative or a document confirming that Thailand would accept the vaccine donation from Poland, which could affect the international relationship between both countries and undermine Thailand’s credibility,” the statement said.

“Furthermore, the ministry’s decision in not issuing such documents is focused on the country’s benefit as a top priority, as the sale of vaccines by parties with no market authorisation from the manufacturer could result in future lawsuits against the Thai government,” the statement said.

“The ministry, however, is happy to support TU in its effort to procure Covid-19 vaccines through donation from other countries in the future,” it added.


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Published : November 03, 2021