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Thailand to purchase another 120 million vaccine doses for next year

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Facebook/ วัคซีนภูเก็ต (PR Phuket)

Thailand’s National Vaccine Committee has approved the purchase of an additional 120 million vaccine doses for 2022. However, it has yet to approve a draft announcement on the export of AstraZeneca doses manufactured in Thailand, due to concerns over insufficient doses for Thai citizens.

Thai PBS World reports that Nakorn Premsri from the National Vaccine Institute says the extra 120 million doses are earmarked for those who have yet to receive a dose, as well as those in need of booster shots. The plan is also to keep some doses in reserve, in the event of a further outbreak. He adds that the NVI will also work with the Department of Disease Control to purchase up to 100 million vaccine doses, as new daily infections approach the 10,000 figure.

It’s understood the NVC wants officials from the DCD and NVI to meet with AstraZeneca and its local supplier to make changes to the number of doses planned for export, as well as those reserved for local use. Thai PBS World reports that such a move will mean amending the agreement between the government and Siam Bioscience, the local manufacturer. Siam Bioscience is expected to produce 180 million doses of AstraZeneca this year, with Thailand currently set to receive a third of those.

Meanwhile, government spokesman Anucha Burapachai says the plan is still to combine vaccines from different manufacturers, in an effort to combat the highly contagious Delta variant. However, there has been no confirmation of when the policy might come into play. The proposal has prompted concerns among the Thai public, following a warning from the World Health Organisation regarding what it describes as the “dangerous trend” of combining vaccines when there is insufficient safety and efficacy data.

The government’s proposal comes as more people question the efficacy of the Sinovac vaccine, which has been widely administered in the national vaccine rollout. Anucha says more people are like to want the AstraZeneca vaccine, instead of Sinovac, adding that mRNA vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna will not be available in Thailand until the last quarter of the year.

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SOURCE: Thai PBS World

 

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