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AstraZeneca working with Southeast Asia countries after delays from Thai plant

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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Tanutam Thawan

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

4 Comments

  1. Oh now the Philippines are not receiving their order. Paid up front did they? That will teach them.
    The Thais are skimming production. Five for the order, one for us.
    They will sell them to the hospitals.
    Or there is massive pilfering occurring. Never allow Thais working around anything valuable with pockets in their clothes.
    Whoever allowed the Thais to produce this vaccine has probably never been to Thailand.

  2. This is no surprise. They’ve never manufactured vaccines before. Would it be too cynical to suggest that the delay in getting a decent vaccination program together was to enable this outfit to reap maximum profit from it?

  3. At least Astra Zeneca has given license for other countries to produce their vaccine. I am unaware of any other pharmaceutical company that has shared the knowledge of their vaccines. My country is ramping up manufacture of Astra Zeneca. Maybe we could help in the production effort.

  4. “My country is ramping up manufacture of Astra Zeneca. Maybe we could help in the production effort.”

    I don’t know how, @Jason!

    CSL had far more experience producing vaccines than Siam BioScience (hardly difficult as Siam BioScience had none!) but they still had production problems, and they’ve recently said they have no spare production capacity which is why they can’t produce NovaVax.

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