SATURDAY, March 02, 2024

Thailand discussing purchase of monkeypox vaccines with other nations

Thailand discussing purchase of monkeypox vaccines with other nations

Thailand has expressed interest in obtaining monkeypox vaccines but only as a “preparatory” step as they are not necessary at the moment, Department of Disease Control (DDC) director-general Dr Opas Karnkawinpong said on Tuesday.

According to him, Thailand has discussed purchase of the vaccine with several countries.

Opas said the department also exchanged information with the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday to prepare for the purchase of a new generation of vaccines targeting the virus.

Furthermore, the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation has contacted two monkeypox vaccine manufacturers, stating its intention to purchase doses once they are proved to be efficient and safe, while the organisation also needs to consider the situation and acquisition capability.

Opas reiterated that vaccines are not necessary at the moment and these moves are just to prepare for any eventuality because monkeypox can spread, but it is not severe and hasn’t been the cause of any deaths.

A reporter intervened to ask Opas about a remark from the Rural Doctor Society that a lot of Covid-19 vaccines were sent to subdistrict hospitals, waiting for them to expire.

Opas explained that the delivery of vaccines came from an agreement between the sender and receiver, including amount and types. He said vaccines were sent to provincial health offices, not subdistrict hospitals.

Provincial health offices will manage those vaccine stocks, said Opas, asking people to report to the department if any subdistrict hospital has expired vaccines, so he would contact the provincial health office.

The DDC chief also denied the claim that there were 16 million doses of Sinovac vaccines left. He said most vaccines were AstraZeneca and Pfizer and there were less than 1 million Sinovac doses left.

Opas confirmed all these vaccines have not expired and could still be administered.

He said vaccine doses in some provinces may have expired and they would be destroyed according to procedures.

The reporter also asked him about 90 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines that were scheduled to be delivered this year, with Thailand receiving only 36 million so far.

Opas said the delivery schedule might be extended to 2023 and the doses would be used as boosters.

The director-general said he is waiting for the World Health Organisation to announce whether or not Covid-19 vaccines need to be administered every year, but he made it clear that
Thailand has enough vaccines to boost the immunity of every Thai by 2023.