Thailand to stop using Sinovac vaccine once current supply runs out

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The head of the Department of Disease Control says Thailand will stop using the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine when the current supply runs out at the end of this month. Dr Opas Karnkawinpong says the government programme will instead switch to using 1 dose of AstraZeneca, followed by 1 of Pfizer.

“We expect to have distributed all Sinovac doses this week.”

The Bangkok Post reports that since February, over 31.5 million doses of the Chinese-made Sinovac have been administered, initially to frontline healthcare workers and high-risk groups, as well as residents on the southern island of Phuket ahead of its sandbox re-opening in July.

The Public Health Ministry then moved to using Sinovac as a first dose and the AstraZeneca vaccine. Thailand was the first country in the world to adopt a mix-and-match protocol, with health officials defending the efficacy of the approach.

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According to the Bangkok Post report, from next year, Thailand will procure 120 million Covid-19 vaccine doses, including 60 million doses of the locally-manufactured AstraZeneca. The Public Health Ministry says the country will only purchase vaccines with proven efficacy against new variants.

From November 1, the government plans to re-open 15 provinces, with quarantine waived for vaccinated tourists from low-risk countries. Health officials are in a rush to vaccinate 70% of its 72 million population by the end of the year, with just 36% vaccinated so far. The country has now recorded nearly 1.8 million infections, with 18,336 deaths. Over 98% of those have been in the last 7 months, as Thailand found itself in the grip of the worst wave of the virus since the pandemic began.

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SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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