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Government to allow private sector to import 25 million Covid-19 vaccine doses

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PHOTO: Facebook/กรุงเทพมหานคร โดยสำนักงานประชาสัมพันธ์

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has called on the private sector to import 20 – 25 million alternative Covid-19 vaccines, expected to arrive during the third quarter of this year. With the Delta variant now the dominant strain in the Kingdom and daily new infections topping 20,000, the government is paving the way for the private sector to import vaccines without the involvement of government agencies.

Nation Thailand reports that the PM has created a working group and assigned a number of private companies to import the Sputnik V and Johnson and Johnson vaccines to provide a much-needed boost to vaccination efforts. So far, just 6% of the population has been vaccinated through the government rollout.

Until now, all Covid-19 vaccines have had to be imported through government ministries and agencies, such as the Department of Disease Control, the National Vaccine Institute, and the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation. A dearth of vaccines has led to fierce criticism of the PM and his administration, as infections continue to surge in Thailand’s worst wave since the start of the pandemic. The government has been slammed for relying almost solely on China’s Sinovac vaccine and locally-produced doses of AstraZeneca. Studies have shown that Sinovac’s efficacy is lowered against the Delta variant, while delays and shortages have dogged local production of AstraZeneca.

According to the Nation Thailand report, a senior hospital executive has welcomed the decision to allow the private sector to import vaccines without red tape or the need for a government middle-man. He adds that vaccines already registered in Thailand, such as Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson, can be imported more quickly. While Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine is not yet registered in the Kingdom, registration is expected imminently.

Meanwhile, 3.9 million doses of the Moderna vaccine have been ordered through the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation – bad news for those who booked and paid for one of 9.23 million doses at private hospitals. The reduction in the number of doses ordered by the GPO means 50% of paying customers will need to be refunded.

For more information on Covid-19 Insurance, CLICK HERE.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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