Health Ministry says local administrations can buy Covid vaccines for roll-out in their areas


The Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, says local administrations can use allocated funds to buy approved Covid vaccines for administration in their localities.

“The government plans to provide free jabs to the public but it is alright too if a local administration wants to use state-allocated funds to launch their own vaccination drive. It is good that local administrative bodies want to help. What they need to do is check with the authorities because there are certain rules and regulations to comply with.”

Anutin has stressed that the vaccines must have Food and Drug Administration approval. Last month, a private hospital in Bangkok was asked to remove an advert offering the opportunity to pre-order the Moderna vaccine, which has not yet been registered for FDA approval.

Paisarn Dunkum from the FDA says even if vaccines have been approved elsewhere in the world, they still require registration with the Thai regulatory body. The process requires manufacturers to supply testing data and information on potential risks, so that the Public Health Ministry has the necessary information to deal with potential side effects. Based on the information provided, the FDA will decide on the safety and efficacy of each vaccine.

“The FDA needs to protect consumers. We need companies to register so we can trace importers and companies if safety issues arise.”

Meanwhile, the Bangkok Post reports that the mayor of Nakhon Nonthaburi municipality, Somnuek Thanadechakul, has already requested approval to buy vaccines directly from the Health Ministry in order to begin a local vaccination drive. Somnuek says the municipality is budgeting 260 million baht for procurement of the vaccines, adding that several other administrations plan to do the same.

The Health Ministry says local administrations must use their state-allocated funds to buy the vaccines, as opposed to using supplies from the government’s free rollout. The government’s campaign will begin next month, when 2 million doses of the Chinese Sinovac jab are rolled out to frontline medical workers, volunteer healthcare workers, and high-risk groups. This will be followed by 60 million doses of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca in partnership with the UK’s Oxford University. It’s understood the government is hoping to achieve herd immunity in at least 50% of Thailand’s population.

For now, only the Chinese and AstraZeneca offerings have registered for FDA approval. While other companies have been invited to register their vaccines, Anutin says the firms have stipulated conditions for doing so.

“These companies say they will not register their vaccines in Thailand unless authorities guarantee to place an order comprising a certain amount.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

Covid-19 NewsThailand News

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