Thailand plans to receive the first batch of AstraZeneca vaccines within the next couple of weeks, but the mass immunisation campaign might be put on hold due to possible restrictions on exports from the European Union.
The EU warned pharmaceutical companies, like AstraZeneca, that they would take legal action and possibly block exports if the drugmakers do not deliver shots that were secured by the Western countries.
The Thai government had earlier announced that February 14 would be the first day of vaccinations. At yesterday’s National Vaccine Committee meeting, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said it’s not clear when the first batch of 50,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will arrive, but added that he still expects the vaccine to arrive within the next month.
If the EU decides to block exports of the vaccine, which is being made in Italy, Thailand may have to wait until June, according to Anutin. In a contract with the Thai government, AstraZeneca agreed to deliver the complete order of vaccines by June. Thailand has secured 26 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and recently reserved another 35 million doses.
“Thailand has requested an amendment to the contract to deliver the first lot of 50,000 doses, and then another 100,000 doses.”
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