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Health Minister hits back at accusations of vaccine “failure”

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Nation Thailand

Thailand’s Public Health Minister has refuted accusations that the government has failed to procure Covid-19 vaccines in a timely manner, demanding that the media stop confusing the public. A somewhat vexed Anutin Charnvirakul says Thailand cannot be compared with other countries as the Kingdom now has a deal to produce the AstraZeneca vaccine locally. This will make it easier to obtain and distribute the vaccines without having to wait on supplies from overseas.

“Thailand had devised a carefully planned vaccination programme. But when a second wave occurred, it was necessary to adjust the plan. While the second outbreak was the result of violations of laws – illegal entry and gambling — some are trying to point the finger of blame at public health officials. I don’t want anyone to compare the Thai public health system with other countries because Thailand ranked high on the list of countries that are successful in containing the Covid-19 outbreak.”

In January, Thailand was ranked 4th of 98 countries for its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Australian think-tank, The Lowy Institute. However, the government has been criticised by some for not signing up to the Covax agreement in the early days of the pandemic. Covax is an alliance of organisations, that includes the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the World Health Organisation, which aims to guarantee the fair distribution of vaccines worldwide. The alliance supplies poor countries with free or low-cost vaccines, but Thailand is classified as “self-financing”.

The Bangkok Post reports that countries that joined the Covax agreement are now starting their vaccine rollouts. Thailand decided not to join the programme, choosing instead to strike deals with manufacturers directly. Anutin says the first doses of Covid-19 vaccines should arrive this month and will be given to priority individuals.

He has also confirmed that the private sector and local administrations are not authorised to purchase vaccines. Several business groups and representatives on the southern island of Phuket had proposed funding the vaccination of 70% of the island’s population, with the aim of achieving herd immunity and being able to open to international tourists from October 1.

Meanwhile, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha says the Kingdom will take delivery of 200,000 vaccine doses this month, with a further 800,000 arriving next month, and 1 million in April. Health officials say Thailand will have vaccinated 50% of its population by the end of the year.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Roger C

    Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 10:22 am

    “Thailand had devised a carefully planned vaccination programme”

    Yes. Hiso’s first.

    • Avatar

      Joe

      Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 1:11 pm

      The first doses of the vaccination should roll out this month according to Anutin,yes but he doesn’t mention that this is a small number of Chinese ones and that the astra Zeneca one, the one made in Thailand, won’t be here until June, that is if they manage to produce it by then. And then Phuket is not allowed to procure any vaccines on it’s own. It looks like the country is being held hostage by certain people. According to the Bangkok Post the damage is 250 billion baht per month in lost economic activity.

      • Avatar

        Toby Andrews

        Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 3:15 pm

        Well in that case, as Thailand has a net worth of $1160 billion, Thailand should be broke in 185.6 months.
        Pity, I thought it would be quicker than that.

  2. Avatar

    Fred glue

    Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 10:37 am

    That is clear as crystal. ??????

  3. Avatar

    Ben

    Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 10:40 am

    Money talks…

  4. Avatar

    Rip255

    Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 11:17 am

    So can I just buy a vaccine? We all know it wont be based on need so might as well sign up for it now instead of being at the back of the queue

    • Avatar

      Changyue

      Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 11:30 am

      Any idea how?

  5. Avatar

    James

    Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 11:51 am

    ZIMBABWE IS GETTING VACCINES. Z I M B A B W E. No private vaccines except for the elite of course. I bet the Health Minister has been vaccinated.

  6. Avatar

    Issan John

    Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 12:38 pm

    I can’t understand why “when a second wave occurred, it was necessary to adjust the plan” – particularly to delay it.

    That looks a bit like trying to shift the blame from a “plan” that was flawed, however “carefully planned”, to put the blame on “the result of violations of laws – illegal entry and gambling” which can’t have had any affect on the vaccination roll out and plan at all. 😮

    • Avatar

      Jack Sombra

      Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 4:23 pm

      They are trying to pass the blame everywhere but themselves. Their other excuse is EU vaccince ‘export ban’, you know the one that does not really ban anything, especially existing contracts.

      Simple fact is Anutin screwed up by putting all his eggs in the local production basket and now they have to protect the reputation of a certain individual who they wanted to present as the ‘saviour of Thailand’, but the company he owns has so far totally failed to deliver. Probably not even his fault, but rather that of companys management and Thai tendency to not tell those above them the truth about impossible/unworkable plans.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 5:23 pm

        Now that Thanathorn’s open questioning of Siam Bioscience has been “un-banned”, I have a feeling things may become a lot clearer and that things could change – particularly as J & J applied a week ago to register their vaccine, which could be a real game changer (cost, supply, etc).

      • Avatar

        Alavan

        Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 11:28 pm

        And they didn’t sign COVAX.

  7. Avatar

    Joe

    Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 1:12 pm

    The first doses of the vaccination should roll out this month according to Anutin,yes but he doesn’t mention that this is a small number of Chinese ones and that the astra Zeneca one, the one made in Thailand, won’t be here until June, that is if they manage to produce it by then. And then Phuket is not allowed to procure any vaccines on it’s own. It looks like the country is being held hostage by certain people. According to the Bangkok Post the damage is 250 billion baht per month in lost economic activity.

  8. Avatar

    Ynwaps

    Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 2:14 pm

    It’s funny because he looks artistic already

    • Avatar

      Toby Andrews

      Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 3:27 pm

      If this Health Minister, Anukin, was Japanese, he would be obliged to cut off a finger for this dishonorable abject failure!
      But alas, he is not Japanese.

      • Avatar

        Alavan

        Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 5:54 pm

        He wouldn’t have any fingers left by now.

    • Avatar

      Joe

      Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 6:16 pm

      You mean autistic.

      • Avatar

        Ynwaps

        Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 6:26 pm

        calling him autistic would be rude to the people on the spectrum.
        He’s a different kind of artist lol

  9. Avatar

    G

    Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 4:57 pm

    Shifting blame for a slow roll out…

    “The private sector and local administrations are not authorised to purchase vaccines” which would make the minister / gov look bad…

    Siam Bioscience is at a snails pace (if and when) it succeeds at all. Lockdown is easy Mr Anutin, vaccine is not!

  10. Avatar

    Issan John

    Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 5:50 pm

    The Thai Examiner had a different take on the significance of the “deal to produce the AstraZeneca vaccine locally” last week (5 Feb):

    “On Wednesday, the Minister of Public Health, Mr Anutin, had a slightly different outlook when he pointed out to reporters that Thailand’s contract was not with Siam Bioscience but with AstraZeneca for delivery of vaccine doses.

    ‘We have signed a contract with AstraZeneca for at least 61 million doses, not with Siam Bioscience. If Siam Bioscience’s plant can’t produce the vaccine, it means nothing to us. This is because the purchase agreement clearly stated that AstraZeneca will provide the vaccine, not Siam Bioscience,’ he revealed.”

  11. Avatar

    London Al

    Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 7:16 pm

    Ms Ursula von der Layen (EU commission leader) said yesterday ““We were late to authorise, we were too optimistic when it came to massive production, and perhaps too confident that what we ordered would actually be delivered on time. We need to ask ourselves why that is the case.”

    I call that honesty and it’s a shame a lot of the world’s politicians prefer to blame everyone but themselves.

  12. Avatar

    Shane

    Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 8:08 pm

    When has a politician ever admitted they’re wrong? They may have made an error of judgement, or mis-spoke, but they’re never wrong. To be honest, they should all be eligible to become Pope, as they claim to be infallible.

  13. Avatar

    Ben

    Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 8:30 pm

    The best plan would have been to secure a variety of vaccines. With different variants emerging it’s being reported that some vaccines may be less effective against some of the variants.

    It’s difficult because every country in the world is scrambling to secure vaccine supply and those that put in their orders early or helped fund development and manufacturing capability, like the USA, are going to be first in line. It would have been difficult for Thailand to play in that arena.

    So they’ve apparently now secured some supply from China and have an Astra Zeneca deal. Is that enough? Probably need to look at doing a deal with a company like Moderna that’s now formulating boosters that account for variants. It’s going to cost money but it’s all a drop in the bucket compared to losing 20% of your GDP.

    • Avatar

      Joe

      Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 9:12 am

      Thailand has been offered vaccinations from Johnson and Johnson and from India but all were refused. Cambodia started it’s inoculations yesterday.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 10:14 am

        Quite. Turning down vaccines (and India’s offering a selection, cheaper than anyone) is pretty hard to explain or understand when everyone else is fighting for them.

  14. Avatar

    Jim kelly

    Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 9:43 pm

    Anutin: “Dirty, filthy man!!” Don’t listen to this cretin. He knows how to fire a gun I expect, and that’s about it.

  15. Avatar

    Leo Z

    Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 10:04 pm

    The only question actually is “why is this guy still Health Minister?”.

  16. Avatar

    Jim kelly

    Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 10:13 pm

    Because he’s a mate of you know who!! Dirty, rotten apples the lot of them… THAILAND WILL FAIL AND “FALL”… it’s inevitable with these clowns running the ‘circus!’

  17. Avatar

    Jim kelly

    Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 10:17 pm

    Along with the elderly ‘dwarf’ who borrows ‘watches’ to make himself look more sophisticated.

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