AstraZeneca has had a turbulent relationship with Thailand and the Thai government after expectations of 10 million vaccines a month fell well short followed by a lot of finger-pointing and threats. But in October, AstraZeneca delivered 10.5 million vaccines, the first time it met the quota of what was expected or promised, depending on who you believe.
When the deal was made for AstraZeneca to be produced domestically in Thailand by Siam Bioscience, a company wholly owned by a subsidiary of Crown Property Bureau, the plan was to provide fast vaccines to Thailand, as well as manufacture doses to sell and distribute across Southeast Asia.
The government announced 10 million vaccines would be delivered each month, and started in June with 1.8 million vaccines, but by July they announced they were cutting target deliveries in half to 5 million a month. Soon, massive shortfalls were prompting medical experts to call for a ban on exporting Siam Bioscience’s AstraZeneca vaccines with legal experts warning of major problems with that.
A letter leaked in July indicated that the government was told they would receive 3 million to 6 million vaccines a month and they extolled higher figures anyway. Now AstraZeneca production has finally reached the level many expected since June.
AstraZeneca has now delivered 35.1 million vaccines of the 61 million promised by the end of this year, meaning if they kept the pace of their new achievement, they would fall short of their promise by 5.9 million vaccines. They would meet the goal if they could produce 13 million vaccines for each of the next 2 months.
The managing director of AstraZeneca Thailand said they have increased batch production by 20% so instead of 580,000 doses per batch, they can manufacture 700,000 doses each batch. This allows them to exceed their production expectations and meet the original 10 million vaccines per month for the first time.
AstraZeneca is still exporting vaccines to Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam, many of which are experiencing even bigger Covid-19 infections than Thailand.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post