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25 million Pfizer and J&J vaccines coming, millions ready now

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: Thailand is now amassing millions of vaccines ahead of Monday's vaccination drive.

Thailand’s goal of giving 100 million vaccine shots by the end of 2021 may be met with the help of Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, as negotiations for 25 million vaccines are ongoing now. PM Prayut Chan-o-cha had set a goal of 100 million vaccines and later increasing it to 150 million jabs, but so far only 6 million Sinovac vaccines and 61 million Astrazeneca doses have been guaranteed.

The Department of Disease Control announced yesterday that they will shore up those supplies with an additional 8 million Sinovac shots and 25 million vaccines from Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson. They also plan to procure an additional 50 million vaccines to use as booster shots for next year. Many experts are predicting that additional vaccination will likely be necessary, especially as Covid-19 mutates and new variants are showing up around the world and spreading.

The big rollout push for mass vaccination in Thailand kicks off officially on Monday, and the recent delivery of 1.8 million locally produced AstraZeneca vaccines yesterday strikes a positive note for a vaccine campaign that has been mired by shortages across the country. The first batch of 200,000 AstraZeneca vaccines meant that each province received a maximum of 3,600 shots only, not nearly enough for any serious vaccination effort.

But now, the 1.8 million AstraZeneca jabs will be combined with 1.5 million more Sinovac jabs scheduled to be delivered next week, to create a healthy kickoff, spreading 3.3 million vaccines across Thailand. Almost 7 million vaccines are expected throughout June, with Siam Bioscience expected to deliver another 240,000 AstraZeneca jabs next week, and 840,000 more the following week. In the last week of June, another 2.58 million domestically-produced AstraZeneca vaccines should be distributed.

Every month for the rest of the year starting in July, Siam Bioscience has committed to delivering an additional 10 million vaccines. The Health Permanent Secretary explained that vaccine allotment would be spread and decided by giving priority to provinces with heavy Covid-19 outbreaks, as well as essential economic regions like tourist destinations planning their reopening next month.

He made a point to reconfirm that no province would see a shortage in vaccines or be delayed in receiving their shipment for the rollout, and that vaccinations will start Monday in all provinces. The allotment and distribution will be transparent as they vowed fairness in divvying out the vaccine supply. The Department of Disease Control will monitor progress and adjust allotments on a weekly basis to make sure any outbreaks or changes in circumstances are addressed immediately.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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