June letter warned only 3 million AstraZeneca vaccines per month

PHOTO: AstraZeneca warned in a letter last month they would only deliver 3 million vaccines each month. (via Britannica)

AstraZeneca now looks like it will deliver far less than the original 10 million vaccines announced, but letters newly leaked show the Public Health Ministry was alerted at least a month ago that the actual amount of doses would be far less than that. In a letter dated June 25 to Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul, AstraZeneca confirmed with him that it would be able to supply Thailand with just 3 million vaccines a month.

According to the information from Isranews Agency whom the letter was leaked to, the letter last month referred to the deal agreed to last September stating that AstraZeneca would produce vaccines locally with Siam Bioscience, a company wholly owned by a subsidiary of Crown Property Bureau, and provide one-third of those vaccines produced for use within Thailand, a total of 3 million vaccines per month, while exporting another 6 million doses abroad. Many have pushed for the government to enact a restriction or ban on exporting vaccines while Thailand is in a growing Covid-19 crisis with a severe inoculation shortage.

Anutin admitted that he received the letter and has been aware of the actual figures being 66% lower than what has been publicly discussed for some time, but defends himself by explaining that he fought back after receiving the letter, pressing AstraZeneca to rectify the shortfall. In a response on June 30, 5 days later, Anutin explained that with Covid-19 rapidly growing, Thailand needed 10 million vaccines a month as scheduled in order to keep up with the already sluggish vaccination rollout.

AstraZeneca requested to postpone the 61 million vaccine fulfilment deadline from the end of 2021 to May of 2022, which would average about 5.5 million vaccines per month for the next 11 months. The Department of Disease Control is in contract discussions with AstraZeneca now to try to reach an agreement to get more than 3 million vaccines per month, to step up production and speed up delivery. The negotiations are conducted with the DDC, National Vaccine Institute, and legal experts.

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SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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