Health Ministry insists supply issues won’t affect vaccine rollout

PHOTO: Facebook/ อนุทิน ชาญวีรกูล (Public Health Minister)

Thailand’s Public Health Ministry says the country’s vaccine rollout will begin today, with 2 priority groups: the elderly and those with 7 underlying health conditions. The Deputy Minister of Public Health, Sathit Pitutecha, acknowledges that many hospitals around the country have postponed vaccination appointments scheduled for today over concerns they had not received enough vaccine doses.

“We are aware of this problem, so we will try to ensure the elderly and those with the diseases who registered through the Mor Prom application get their jabs first. After that, the ministry will deliver the additional vaccines that we’ve received from the AstraZeneca company.”

However, Sathit is unable to confirm when the additional supplies of AstraZeneca might be delivered – or how many doses might arrive in each shipment.

“The company is trying its best to deliver. They might give us 300,000 – 500,000 doses at a time. It depends on them.”

The Bangkok Post reports that 1.8 million doses of AstraZeneca were received on June 3 and distributed by the Health Ministry the following day. A number of Sinovac doses were added to the shipments for each province, to ensure small to medium-sized provinces had sufficient doses for the first 7 days of their inoculation programme. However, Sathit acknowledges that in the case of larger areas, like the northern province of Lampang, the amount sent would only last 2 – 3 days.

Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul says provincial public health offices have been advised to tell hospitals in their jurisdiction to start vaccinating people from today. He says provincial officials must manage vaccine distribution in their respective areas, adding that many provinces were anxious to inoculate as many residents as possible and booked appointments that exceeded the number of doses they’d been allocated.

Meanwhile, Bangkok governor, Aswin Kwanmuang, says the elderly and those with underlying health conditions who didn’t register through the Mor Prom app can now do so through the “Thai Ruam Jai” platform. He says there are 25 vaccination centres in the capital and between today and June 14, people who arrive for the vaccination appointment given to them via SMS, will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine. He adds that the progress of the capital’s vaccine rollout will depend on how many doses it receives from the Health Ministry.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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