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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Officials deny Pfizer vaccine already available in Thailand for “a certain group”

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Flickr

Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration has denied that the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine is already in Thailand and available for the exclusive use of some. The FDA was responding to a claim made by former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, who says the vaccine is available for emergency use to inoculate a certain group. Thaksin made the claim online using the Clubhouse app.

According to the Bangkok Post, Paisarn Dankum from the FDA says the US manufacturer has yet to register its vaccine, pointing out that anyone seeking to import a vaccine needed to clear it with the FDA first. He says Pfizer has been approved to import its vaccine but has not sought an emergency use licence. The FDA usually takes around 30 days to issue such a licence.

“We have not yet received any request from the company for a licence, but hopefully it will happen shortly. Therefore, it is impossible to find the Pfizer vaccine here. We have already checked, just in case, and not found any. So, the claim is false.”

The Bangkok Post reports that anyone found guilty of importing a vaccine without authorisation is liable for a 5,000 baht fine and/or 3 years’ imprisonment.

For its part, Pfizer says it will only arrange purchasing deals with government agencies and is in talks with the Public Health Ministry about providing its vaccine for the Thai population. The government hopes to order around 10 million Pfizer doses, but they are not expected to arrive before the end of the year.

“We want to certify that the company has no policy of selling the vaccine through any private agent. Until now, we have never imported the Covid-19 vaccine through our office in Thailand.”

Thailand has already approved 3 vaccines for emergency use. They are CoronaVac, from the Chinese manufacturer Sinovac, AstraZeneca, and the single-dose vaccine from Johson & Johnson, although there has been no news on the availability of the latter. The FDA is now in the process of reviewing paperwork from Moderna, with that vaccine expected to be approved later this month.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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