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AstraZeneca working with Southeast Asia countries after delays from Thai plant

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/ กรุงเทพมหานคร โดยสำนักงานประชาสัมพันธ์ (Bangkok Metropolitan Administration)

Following reports from several Southeast Asian countries regarding delays in deliveries of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine from the Thailand manufacturing plant, the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company now says it is working with the governments to make sure the vaccine is supplied “as quickly as possible.”

Malaysia, Taiwan and the Philippines have announced that they expect delays of the AstraZeneca vaccine from Thailand’s Siam Bioscience, a company wholly owned by a subsidiary of the Crown Property Bureau.

The Siam Bioscience plant in Nonthaburi, just outside Bangkok, is set to be AstraZeneca’s Southeast Asia hub and manufacture 200 million doses. Over the past week, the royally-backed company handed over 1.8 million doses to the Thai government, initiating the start of Thailand’s mass Covid-19 immunisation campaign.

The Thai government heavily relied on the locally-made AstraZeneca vaccine. In the recent and most severe wave of Covid-19, infecting more than 150,000 people since April 1, Thailand has had a limited amount vaccines. Doses were sent to priority areas and to those at high risk of infection.

An order of vaccines for the Philipinnes from the Thai plant has been reduced and postponed. The Philippines is one of the Asian countries hit hardest by the pandemic. Malaysia and Taiwan are also expecting delays in their orders. Taiwan’s Health Minister Chen Shih-chung says the holdup is due to production problems at the Thailand AstraZeneca plant.

Neither AstraZeneca nor Siam Bioscience have said whether or not production at the plant was hitting targets.

AstraZeneca emailed the following statement to Reuters…

“Distribution to other Southeast Asian countries, including Malaysia, will commence in the coming weeks… We are working closely with each of the relevant governments to supply our Covid-19 vaccine as quickly as possible.”

SOURCE: Reuters

 

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Local Thai journalist speaking fluent Thai and English. Tanutam studied in Khon Kaen before attending Bangkok’s Chulalongkhorn University.

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