Thailand importing 2nd gen vaccines, producing 3 domestically

FILE PHOTO: Thailand will import second generation vaccines while developing three locally.

Next month should see the start of procurement of the second generation of Covid-19 vaccines, as the Ministry of Public Health plans to import them to Thailand. The National Vaccine Institute (NVI) will convene to discuss the plan sometime in October, according to the Deputy Director-General of the Department of Disease Control.

Up for debate is how many vaccines are needed and which brands to purchase. Pfizer now has a vaccine designed specifically to battle the Omicron strain variant BA.4 and BA.5 that is predominant in the pandemic these days. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be the one which Thailand primarily relies on.

The NVI will study all the current vaccines on the market and coming to the market before choosing which brand Thailand will focus on. But the deputy director-general believes all vaccine procurement going forward will be second generation, as manufacturers phase out the original line of vaccines and replace them with the most effective products they currently have.

Thailand has been hard at work developing domestic lines of vaccines against Covid, with two vaccines nearly finishing their clinical trials, and another entering the second phase of trials last month. The plant-based Baiya vaccine has been developed by Baiya Phytopharm while Chulalongkorn University has developed the ChulaCov19 vaccine.

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The inactivated vaccine HXP-GPOVac is being developed by the Government Pharmacy Organisation and has received over 434.5 million baht in government funds. It’s currently undergoing phase two trials, with 250 volunteers between the ages of 18 and 75 taking part. HXP-GPOVac is safe and provides a good level of immunity.

According to the director of the NVI, all three of these homegrown vaccines are expected to be available by the end of 2023. He stated that the vaccines that are developed and produced in Thailand will be used as booster shots and should be just as effective as any of the vaccines procured from abroad.

In the meantime, Thailand is also set to receive three million Pfizer vaccine doses for use on young children, as the DDC plan to administer vaccines to children as young as six months old and up to five years old. Children will receive the first shot and then the second shot three weeks later, with a third dose only being administered five months after the first two.

Parents will be able to choose whether their children receive the vaccine or not, but the DDC estimates that around 40 to 50% of children in Thailand between those ages will get the Pfizer vaccine.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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