The Thai PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha says the limited procurement of Covid-19 vaccines was for safety reasons, as well as being based on the situation in the country at the time.
“Initially, the purchases Thailand made were based on the situation at that time, when we were successful in containing the outbreak.”
He was responding to criticism from several quarters about the slow pace of the vaccine rollout, as the country finds itself in the grip of a third wave. The PM says the decisions made around vaccine procurement were made based on safety concerns, saying some of the vaccines were using new technology. He says now that their efficacy has been shown elsewhere, Thailand is looking at ways to obtain them.
“Let me be clear. It’s not that we acted too late or too little. Everything depends on the situation at a given time. We didn’t want to subject people to risk when the vaccine was first produced. Several countries opted to do the same.”
According to a Bangkok Post report, the PM insists he has listened to the criticism on social media, as well as calls for the private sector to be allowed to import jabs directly from other manufacturers and not just AstraZeneca and Sinovac. A new panel has been set up to consider the initiative and is being led by senior medic, Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn, an adviser to the government’s Covid-19 task force.
Meanwhile, the PM says the government has requested price quotes from US manufacturer Pfizer, with plans to purchase between 5 and 10 million doses of that vaccine.
“I can’t confirm (whether Thailand will get it or not) but if all goes well, 5-10 million doses can be delivered as soon as July. The government is not dragging its feet.”
SOURCE: Bangkok Post
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