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20 million AZ doses needed to reopen country, health expert says

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Another 20 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine are needed before Thailand can safely reopen, a health expert said on Monday.

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Thailand can safely reopen, a health expert said on Monday.

Dr Vijj Kasemsup, a community-based health programme expert at Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, said 10 million AstraZeneca doses were required in both September and October to prevent deaths in vulnerable elderly, pregnant and chronically ill people. He warned of a crisis if the uncertainty over vaccine supplies continued through the next two months.

Thailand’s vaccination rollout has been hit by shortages after AstraZeneca said it could only deliver 5-6 million doses per month. The government is reportedly considering whether to block exports from Siam Bioscence, the local company tasked with manufacturing AstraZeneca for the region.

Academics say current data indicates infections will fall among all groups next month.

Also read: Infections have reached peak: DDC

Meanwhile, millions of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses are due for delivery at the end of September, with another 5 million set to arrive in October, and 30 million in total by the end of this year. This should relieve pressure on the government, Dr Vijj said, adding that getting early vaccination is essential to saving Thai people's lives.

He also urged the government to use its authority to limit exports of AstraZeneca vaccine produced by Siam Bioscience. Vijj hoped AstraZeneca would agree to cap exports from Thailand, saying the company had received benefits from the Thai government.

Published : August 23, 2021

By : The Nation