Moderna import process hasn’t begun, pending payment

The Moderna vaccine importation process has been delayed over money. (via Flickr Jernej Furman)

The process to procure Moderna vaccines hasn’t really even begun, and the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation says they are waiting for money before starting. The director of the GPO explains that since Moderna is not one of the 5 vaccines purchased by the government, the process is drawn out and must be paid for.

The justification and explanation come after a doctor at Thonburi Healthcare Group said that a friend at Moderna informed him that the initiating supply agreement has yet to be signed and Thailand is still at square one in the importing process.

The GPO maintains that it’s complicated to coordinate with over 300 hospitals to get a grand total for purchase, and as the Moderna vaccines are pricy, the GPO doesn’t want to be stuck holding the bill. As of now, there are requests for 9 million vaccines, and it’s expected that 4 million could be received in 2021, while the remaining doses will be delivered next year.

The government organisation that is tasked with being the go-between between private hospitals and organisations buying vaccines and the pharmaceutical companies that sell vaccines to governments only plans on signing contracts with Moderna at the beginning of next month to begin the purchase and importing process.

The GPO director confirms that the agreement has been written and delivered to the Office of the Attorney General to be reviewed this week. After that, it may be passed to the cabinet to handle issues beyond the scope of the GPO. Then the agreement can be signed, the order can be placed and the ball will finally be rolling. The first Moderna vaccines are expected in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Meanwhile, the GPO has been developing its own vaccine that has shown promise and will enter the second phase of development by August 10. They are also monitoring clinical trials of other vaccines in Thailand for possible future use. A supply agreement for the Pfizer vaccine is now being considered by the cabinet for approval Tuesday.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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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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