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Opposition MP slams government over AstraZeneca procurement failure



PHOTO: Facebook/ไทยคู่ฟ้า (Thai Government)

An MP from the opposition Pheu Thai Party has blasted the government for not disclosing the details of the AstraZeneca procurement contract. Yutthapong Charasathien is demanding that Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul remove the head of the Department of Disease Control over the failings, accusing him of mismanaging vaccine procurement and allocation.

The Bangkok Post reports that during a meeting on vaccine procurement held at the parliament building yesterday, Yutthapong called on the DDC to divulge the details of the AstraZeneca procurement deal. His criticism comes as a leaked letter from AstraZeneca reveals the Public Health Ministry only ordered 3 million doses a month, far fewer than the government claimed.

Yutthapong is also demanding to know why the DDC continues to buy more Sinovac doses when studies have shown it is less effective against mutations like the Delta variant. He says the DDC was awarded a loan of 6.1 billion baht to purchase Covid-19 vaccines, adding that a letter from the Office of the National Economics and Social Development Council suggested different vaccines than those currently in use should be purchased in order to combat variants.

“That means no more Sinovac. I ask Mr Anutin to change the director-general of the DDC because we cannot tolerate this kind of management and 6.1 billion baht is no small sum. Despite the procurement of Sinovac, the department has not gained the public’s trust to provide them with effective protection against Covid-19.”

DDC chief Opas Karnkawinpong has hit back, saying the letter suggested vaccines could also be procured from other manufacturers at the same time, arguing that the DDC has done this by signing a deal with Pfizer.

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SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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