Monday, September 20, 2021

perspective

An open letter from AstraZeneca


An open letter to the people of Thailand

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Dear friends in Thailand,

As AstraZeneca’s representative here, I see the challenges that all of us across the country face in the battle against COVID-19 and want to explain what we are doing to help.

The rising number of confirmed COVID-19 delta cases in Thailand concerns all of us at AstraZeneca. We are in constant contact with the Department for Disease Control on the virus’ evolving impact and on how we can help the national vaccination programme.

I want to assure you that for us, there is no higher priority than manufacturing vaccines that can protect you and your loved ones, as fast as possible.

We will leave no stone unturned.

Our vaccine is a ‘biologic’ product that starts with growing ‘living’ ingredients. Its manufacturing is complicated. The number of doses in each ‘harvested’ batch is never completely certain, especially in the early stages of a new supply chain. Even with that context, our projections show that in months with uninterrupted manufacturing we can supply five to six million doses in Thailand.

By the end of July, we will have delivered 11.3 million doses, as part of our overall commitment to deliver 61 million to Thailand. As of now, we have delivered nine million doses, with 2.3 million to be supplied to the Ministry of Public Health next week.

We are delivering in the fastest possible timeframe, however, given the gravity of the delta variant, we are leaving no stone unturned to accelerate supply further still. Together with our manufacturing partner, Siam Bioscience, we have initiated efforts to optimise the manufacturing process and we believe that in months with good ‘harvests’, we will be able to deliver more.

We are also scouring the 20+ supply chains in our worldwide manufacturing network to find additional vaccines for Southeast Asia, including Thailand. A global supply crunch for COVID-19 vaccines and shortages of the materials and components required to produce the vaccine, make it difficult to provide certainty today, but we are hopeful of importing additional doses in the months ahead.

An open letter from AstraZeneca

COVID-19 is the biggest public health crisis of our generation. We at AstraZeneca see it as our duty to help, and thousands of our employees, and those of our partners, have devoted their lives this past year to do so. We do this at no profit during the pandemic because we believe that’s the right thing to do. The immediate needs of the pandemic are too large for us to take on alone, but we will not rest until you are vaccinated.

Our battle against COVID-19 is shared.

Since the start of the pandemic, you have shown the true heart and strength of Thailand. Polling suggests that over one third of the people in Thailand have donated money, food or supplies to support one another. We have witnessed remarkable solidarity within the community and across provincial borders. The battle against COVID-19 has been a marathon, but the one thing that will bring us closer to the finish line is running this race together, not just in Thailand but also internationally.

We in Thailand face an upsurge in cases today. Our brothers and sisters across ASEAN experience new lockdowns and rising fatalities also. New data from Canada shows that one dose of our vaccine is 87% effective against hospitalisation or death caused by the delta variant. The vaccines made in Thailand are of critical importance to our neighbours as much as they are to us here.

We share the same goal. To end the pandemic, we need to manage virus levels everywhere. As the virus ignores borders, the acceleration of COVID-19 in neighbouring countries is a threat to us in Thailand. This fight can only be won if we act together.

 

Yours sincerely,

James Teague

Managing Director, AstraZeneca Thailand

Published : July 24, 2021

By : THE NATION