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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai industry body says government may miss vaccination target due to supply issues

Maya Taylor



PHOTO: Facebook/กรุงเทพมหานคร โดยสำนักงานประชาสัมพันธ์

The Thai government is being warned that ongoing issues with Covid-19 vaccine supply may cause it to miss its target of obtaining 10 million doses in June. The Federation of Thai Industries says the supply problems will impact the country’s vaccination rollout and is calling on the government to accelerate the process by allowing private companies to import doses from a variety of manufacturers. It adds that choice is important, given the risk of new variants.

The FTI’s warning comes after a number of hospitals confirmed they are suspending inoculation with the AstraZeneca vaccine as they are running out of doses or have already run out. The Public Health Minister has responded to supply concerns by insisting that additional doses will be delivered in time for the rollout to commence on June 7.

According to a Bangkok Post report, Supant Mongkolsuthree from the FTI says he hopes the supply issue is a temporary hiccup the government will be able to handle.

“We are especially worried about a shortage in June as the government plans to administer around 10 million doses a month.”

Boon Vanasin from the Thonburi Healthcare Group echoes the call for a greater choice of vaccines, adding that Thailand needs to avoid supply issues, given that other countries have already placed and paid for their orders in advance. He adds that such high demand globally means the Thai government must allow private companies to import vaccines for their workers. If not, he points out that the country risks missing its vaccination target.

“Thailand may eventually miss its goal to administer 150 million doses. It’s difficult to see how vaccinations will cover 50 million people by December.”

Meanwhile, the government has extended the period between doses 1 and 2 of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has increased from 10 weeks to 16 weeks. Officials insist the extended period between doses will not affect immunity.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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