Thai FDA approves Sinovac vaccine, 13 provinces to get the first doses

PHOTO: Wikimedia

The first phase of Thailand’s Covid-19 immunisation plan is ready to roll out with the first 200,000 doses of China’s Sinovac vaccine set to arrive tomorrow. The Chinese-made vaccine was just approved by the Thai Food and Drug Administration. The decision was made “just in time,” Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul wrote on Facebook with a photo of the official document approving the vaccine for use.

After the doses arrive, the vaccines will undergo quality and safety inspection. The vaccines should be distributed to the public within 5 days after arrival. The first round of doses will be distributed in 13 provinces, which includes “red” and “orange” zone provinces under Covid-19 control as well as 4 provinces that are of “economic significance,” according to the spokesperson for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, Taweesilp Visanuyothin.

The provinces of economic significance are the popular tourist destinations Phuket, Chiang Mai, Chon Buri (which includes Pattaya) and Surat Thani (which includes Koh Samui).

Those in the healthcare field, either private or government, who have been in contact with people infected with Covid-19 will be in the first round of vaccinations. People over 60 years old are also a top priority in the first phase as well as people with chronic diseases including respiratory illness, cardiovascular disease, stage-5 renal disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and obesity.

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha offered to take the first jab of the Covid-19 vaccine, although some, and apparently even Prayut himself, have said the vaccine shouldn’t be administered to people over the age of 60. Prayut is 66 years old.

Altogether, Thailand is set to receive 2 million doses of China’s Sinovac vaccine. The entire order will be completed within the next 2 months with 800,000 doses in March and 1 million doses in April.

The Thai government also ordered 61 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was developed in partnership with Oxford University. 26 million doses are set to arrive from June to August and 35 million doses should arrive from September to December.

Areas that will be the first to receive doses of the Sinovac vaccine include Samut Sakhon (the epicentre of coronavirus infections), western Bangkok, Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan, Tak’s Mae Sot district, Nakhon Pathom, Samut Songkhram, Ratchaburi, Chon Buri, Phuket, Surat Thani and Chiang Mai.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post| Nation Thailand

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Caitlin Ashworth

Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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