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Anutin speaks in defence of handling of Covid-19 and vaccines



FILE PHOTO: Anutin says the government's handling of Covid-19 was done with transparency and for the benefit of the public.

On the first day of the 4 day censure debate where multiple cabinet members as well as PM Prayut Chan-o-cha are facing a vote of no-confidence, Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul spoke in the evening in defence of himself and in praise of the government’s competent handling of the Covid-19 crisis.

The minister walked through the Covid-19 crisis and his vaccine procurement efforts since the end of last year and painted a rosy picture of the government’s strategy and success. Anutin reiterated his defence of Thailand’s reliance on the Sinovac vaccine despite earlier reports of a quick loss of efficacy and ineffectiveness against the Delta variant.

Anutin also claimed there was no corruption since he became minister, and that he has not wasted any money from the public funds or siphoned any off for himself, but that Thailand has greatly benefitted from the warmer relationship with China.

Thailand’s reliance on Sinovac has frequently come under fire but Anutin came to the defence of the Chinese-made vaccine, saying was a high-quality product that is highly effective. He stressed that the emergence of the Delta variant, which the Sinovac vaccine is not very effective against, is neither his fault nor Sinovac’s fault.

Still, he reassured that Thailand has nothing to worry about when it comes to vaccines, saying that their ample supply should give people confidence. He said that the country will have 140 million vaccines by the end of 2021, enough to vaccinate 90% of the people in Thailand and that 2022 supplies will be ample as long as AstraZeneca continues production domestically.

Anutin addressed criticism of pricing and dealings with China saying that Sinovac was the fastest option to get vaccines into Thailand and that all financial dealings were done with transparency. He said that while the first batch of vaccines were US $17 each, they quickly negotiated the pricing lower and lower until reaching $8.90.

During the defence of his tenure as Minister of Public Health, Anutin says that his work, as well as that of the ruling party and PM Prayut, was honest, fair, and transparent. He said they did their jobs justly and all in the interest of the Thai people



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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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