Thai health officials form vaccine rollout committee

PHOTO: Lex18

Health officials have formed a sub-committee to oversee the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines in Thailand. The Bangkok Post reports that the sub-committee will be headed up by Sophon Mekthon, chairman of the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation and adviser to the Public Health Minister. The team will be responsible for the overall vaccine programme, including deciding priority groups.

Meanwhile, Opas Kankawinpong from the Department of Disease Control, says private hospitals can also go ahead with offering approved Covid vaccines, outside of the government’s free programme.

“The situation with the pandemic is changing fast. We are going to see more pharmaceutical companies requesting Thai Food and Drug Administration approval and that means private hospitals will be able to provide Covid-19 vaccines.”

Last month, a private hospital in Bangkok was ordered to stop advertising the Moderna vaccine, which has not yet been given Food and Drug Administration approval. The hospital had been running an advertising campaign, offering the vaccine at a cost of 10,000 baht per person. The only vaccines currently approved for use in Thailand are the Chinese CoronaVac offering, as well as the AstraZeneca/Oxford University jab.

The Thai government has ordered 2 million doses of the Chinese vaccine, and 60 million doses from AstraZeneca. It’s understood frontline medical workers, healthcare volunteers, and high-risk groups will be the first to get the 2 million Chinese doses when the rollout begins next month. Thailand has also signed a technology transfer agreement allowing local firm Siam Bioscience to produce the AstraZeneca vaccine here.

Meanwhile, the NCDC has switched to saliva examination over throat swabs when conducting Covid-19 testing. Dr Opas confirms the method has been proven to be over 90% accurate.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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