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Thailand to receive additional AstraZeneca jabs from Asia factory, amid EU export row

Maya Taylor



PHOTO: Reuters

AstraZeneca says it will send 150,000 doses of its Covid-19 vaccine to Thailand from a plant in Asia, as a result of an EU ruling that restricts exports of the vaccine to countries outside the bloc. The doses had been due to come from Italy.

Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul says officials have received a letter from the pharmaceutical giant that explains what measures are being implemented to avoid supplies being disrupted as a result of the EU ruling. In the letter, the firm calls on the government to approve the new licences and permits required, as the previous approval granted by the Food and Drugs Administration only applies to supplies coming from Europe.

Thailand is still expected to take delivery of 50,000 doses from Europe imminently, but the next 150,000 due to arrive in March and April will now come from Asia. Anutin says health officials still expect to meet the government’s vaccine rollout target.

“We have put our best efforts in to secure vaccines, and we are expecting good news to come shortly. If we get it, it will allow us to test our vaccine distribution network. Anyway, even if we don’t get it, it won’t have an impact on our plan to give 26 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to Thais in June.”

He has also downplayed the urgency for vaccines, saying the outbreak in the central province of Samut Sakhon is now under control. Local health officials have announced tough new restrictions for factory workers in the province in an effort to suppress the spread of the virus.

Anutin says Thailand has secured an additional 35 million doses of the AstraZeneca jab, giving it 61 million doses in total. This is enough to vaccinate 30 million Thais. Anutin points out that it’s up to AstraZeneca to ensure delivery, regardless of plans to produce the vaccine locally through Siam Bioscience.

“We have signed a contract with AstraZeneca for at least 61 million doses, not with Siam Bioscience. If Siam Bioscience’s plant can’t produce the vaccine, it means nothing to us. This is because the purchase agreement clearly stated that AstraZeneca will provide the vaccine, not Siam Bioscience.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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  1. Avatar

    Issan John

    Friday, February 5, 2021 at 10:45 am

    Sounds like Siam BioScience are being sidelined in a big way, after reportedly being given 600 million baht in government funding, and India will be supplying instead.

    • Avatar

      Toby Andrews

      Friday, February 5, 2021 at 5:32 pm

      Yes and I trusted you when you announced that they were going to produce the Astra Zeneca vaccine in Thailand!
      You were wrong Isaan John. WRONG WRONG WRONG!
      As usual. lol

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Friday, February 5, 2021 at 6:59 pm

        Hardly “WRONG”, Toby, just passing on what was announced and agreed, but not clairvoyant.

  2. Avatar


    Friday, February 5, 2021 at 11:08 am

    I thought AstraZeneca was the bad guy? Didn’t the EU in effect just do what they claimed the UK did to them? The EU knew the Italy AZ plant was making the rest of Thailand’s order but they took the balance after the first portion anyway. No worry AZ improved, adapted and overcame.

    • Avatar


      Friday, February 5, 2021 at 5:28 pm

      Easier to blame it on the EU than admitting you were wrong in signing a contract and being unable to deliver what you agreed on.
      EU is not blocking exports (check with Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson), it is controlling what leaves the EU and making certain that everything is following contractual obligations.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Friday, February 5, 2021 at 7:01 pm

        Oh come on Alavan … never let the truth get in the way of a good rant 🙂

      • Avatar


        Saturday, February 6, 2021 at 5:11 am

        Alavan, you have to do better than that. The EU contract with AZ doesn’t have set dates or quantities. It says “best effort” in multiple locations, that’s a known fact after the EU mistakenly and to their horror published the entire unredacted contract.
        As to Pfizer and J&J, not too sure what you are trying to prove there. The EU can’t block the Pfizer vaccines shipment to the UK because the contract was signed prior to the EU implementing export controls. To do so at this point would be in violation of the WTO rules. As for J&J, the EU is under contractual obligations with J&J to ship a portion of the doses to the US for “fill and finish” work. The vaccine then get shipped back ready for use. In other words, the EU isn’t allowing anything, they are under contract to do so.

  3. Avatar


    Friday, February 5, 2021 at 11:45 am

    Somewhere in Asia. My guess it is India. I still haven’t wrapped my head head around why India’s offer was refused initially.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Friday, February 5, 2021 at 7:01 pm

      I think many others have, but they prefer not to spell out the obvious.

      • Avatar

        Toby Andrews

        Friday, February 5, 2021 at 9:43 pm

        That obvious was, when they looked at Thailand and saw the Thai instinct to scam, cheat, and lie, they then decided India would be a better bet.
        Example, Thais would skim the vaccines and sell to private hospitals,
        Thais would produce fake vaccines = saline water.
        Thais would be late delivering anyway.
        If the Thai do not deliver, Thai courts will not do anything about it!
        The Thais might think their reputation is good despite years of being liars and cheats and they think they are clever, but they are not.

  4. Avatar

    Issan John

    Saturday, February 6, 2021 at 12:24 am

    Clever enough to kick you out, Toby.

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