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AstraZeneca Thailand writes open letter to people of Thailand

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: The managing director of AstraZeneca Thailand penned an open letter to the people of Thailand. (via Flickr Marco Verch/AstraZeneca)

With Covid-19 infections rising in Thailand and bad news after bad news after bad news coming out of the vaccine supply and distribution chains, the managing director of AstraZeneca Thailand penned an open letter to the people of Thailand today. In it, he gave a brief overview of the manufacturing process, the efforts made to supply more vaccines, and words of encouragement to the Thai public.

James Teague opened his letter by acknowledging the tough times facing Thailand in the face of Covid-19, with rising infection numbers and widespread reaches of the more contagious and somewhat vaccine-resistant Delta variant. The letter said AstraZeneca is communicating continually with the Department of Disease Control about the situation and how best to help and reiterated a commitment to manufacturing vaccines as quickly as possible.

The letter then explained a bit about the process and difficulties in manufacturing a product with biological components, meaning living ingredients have to be grown and harvested to make the AstraZeneca vaccine. Unlike a synthetic process, the exact amount of usable material can’t be guaranteed, so output can be a bit unpredictable. Teague stressed this is especially so in a new supply chain just getting started.

AstraZeneca believes they should be able to produce 5 to 6 million vaccines for Thailand each month, barring any event that interrupts that supply chain. They have delivered 9 million vaccines so far, and plan to give the Ministry of Public Health an additional 2.3 million doses next week.

Recognised the vaccine shortages and urgently growing threat from the Delta variant, AstraZeneca has set out to optimize the manufacturing process in Thailand’s domestic producer, Siam Bioscience, a company wholly owned by a subsidiary of Crown Property Bureau. They believe they can increase production provided they achieve good harvests of the biological materials involved. The letter also vows to search for any vaccines that could be diverted to Southeast Asia in the AstraZeneca global supply chain of more than 20 manufacturers.

Teague then reiterated AstraZeneca’s commitment to fighting Covid-19, which he says they are doing without turning a profit, for the good of the global population. He pointed out that a new Canadian study showed even one AstraZeneca vaccines is 87% effective in preventing death and hospitalisation. He also praised the generosity of Thai people, citing a poll showing a third of all Thai people have donated to people in need during Covid-19.

The letter closed with a call for unity saying that a virus doesn’t observe borders, so it’s imperative to get people vaccinated in Thailand and across Southeast Asia, which may be a subtle defence of increased frustration from the people of Thailand wanting all vaccine exports cancelled until the citizens here have access to AstraZeneca vaccines.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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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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