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Thailand goes shopping for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine

Tim Newton

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Still waiting for your vaccine? You’re not alone with only around 0.9% of Thailand currently vaccinated. With the Public Health Ministry nailed to just two international vaccines at this stage – the Chinese Sinovac and the AstraZeneca vaccines – it has found itself running short as it tries to catch up to regional neighbours and the rest of the world.

Now the Public Health Ministry says that it’s negotiating with Pfizer to buy 5-10 million doses of the new-technology Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. Today the PM said they could expect supplies from Pfizer to arrive between July and December this year.

The PM Prayut confirmed that the National Vaccine Institute is awaiting prices from the US-based pharmaceutical company. The PM denied that the government was dragging its feet on the national vaccine roll out.

“… if all goes well, 5-10 million doses can be delivered as soon as July.”

Except that the government HAS been dragging its feet. To date only 666,000 doses have been rolled out, less than 1% of Thailand’s population over the past 2 months. The arrival of the ordered Sinovac Biotech and AstraZeneca vaccines appears to have been lumpy, at best, and the date for the local production of the AstraZeneca vaccine, under license, continues to be pushed back… now the earliest date is expected to be July.

Thailand goes shopping for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine | News by ThaigerThe prime minister’s response was that he had set up a panel to consider “alternative vaccines”, according to Bangkok Post.

“Initially, the purchases Thailand made were based on the situation at that time, when we were very successful in containing the outbreak.”

“Let me be clear. It’s not that we acted too late or too little. Everything depends on the situation at a given time. We don’t want to subject people to risk when the vaccine was first produced. Several countries opted to do the same.”

The Pfizer/BioNTech works in a different way to the more traditional AstraZeneca and Chinese vaccines. It uses mRNA technology, a completely new approach and the first of its kind. There’s an entire detailed article HERE from the NY Times explaining how the new Pfizer vaccine works.

But no matter what vaccines are available in Thailand, or whenever they may arrive in the provincial hospitals, it still appears that the foreigners and expats will be at the end of the queues, although some local embassies have assured their citizens that the vaccination of their expatriate citizens will be a priority.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Avatar

    toby andrews

    Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 9:34 pm

    Short of vaccines? They are holding back 29928 in Phuket.
    But be quick before they sell them to private hospitals to sell at a high price.
    At commission of course . . .

  2. Avatar

    Frank

    Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 10:17 pm

    Once Americans have been vaccinated, maybe by June, the vaccine can be produced for the rest of the world. That is, if the companies don’t start manufacturing the third or fourth shot for Americans.

  3. Avatar

    James R

    Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 11:05 pm

    A well written news report.

    Thailand’s tardiness by its leaders is to blame, they are now at the end of the vaccine ordering queue and it will get longer.

    The PM said, “… if all goes well, 5-10 million doses can be delivered as soon as July.”

    I think that should be changed to, “… if all goes well, 5-10 million doses may be delivered as late as July.”

  4. Avatar

    Leo Z

    Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 11:20 pm

    So the PM admitted that the government was late in procuring vaccines and starting vaccinations because “the purchases Thailand made were based on the situation at that time, when we were very successful in containing the outbreak.”

    Who makes planning on an issue of a bridge or a highway or a metro extension, let alone a critical issue of a virus outbreak, “based on the situation at that time”?!

  5. Avatar

    tom

    Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at 1:18 am

    The slowness of the Thai leaders to secure Moderna and Phizer vaccines early is the problem.
    Thailand has $70 Billion dollars in reserve controlled by the king. Use that money and buy all the
    Moderna you can get and you could have population fully vaccinated in short time

  6. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at 1:50 am

    Honestly I can’t see how they can claim they acted too late or too little. At least not with a straight face. For a country that handled the outbreak as well as any one, they have botched the vaccine phase as badly as anyone. It’s clear they went all in on a domestic production of AZ thinking they had plenty of time. Never mind they had never produced a vaccine at this level or realized the folly of committing to a single unproved vaccine.

  7. Avatar

    Ben

    Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at 7:20 am

    Is domestic production owned by the rich?

  8. Avatar

    LondonAl

    Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at 3:38 pm

    The anti-vaxers and doom mongers are to blame for this, if you throw enough mud some of it sticks, you get 16 people with non lethal blood clots out of 30 million and they delay the vaccine roll out, thereby condemning hundreds, if not thousands, to death, beyond stupid.

    The world is going to be inundated with vaccines very soon, choice will increase, prices will fall, the light at the end of the tunnel is getting bigger thank goodness.

  9. Avatar

    Alavan

    Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at 4:44 pm

    Frank:
    “Once Americans have been vaccinated, maybe by June, the vaccine can be produced for the rest of the world. That is, if the companies don’t start manufacturing the third or fourth shot for Americans.”
    Pfizer was researched in Germany and is produced in Puurs, Belgium. It is from there transported to the UK, US, Israel and other countries. They are now delivering faster to the EU than agreed in the contract. So I guess nobody will have to wait for the US.
    J&J was researched in Beerse, Belgium, and is now produced and exported from Holland.

  10. Avatar

    Joe Nyomozo

    Thursday, April 22, 2021 at 12:07 am

    Negotiating “kick back fees”?!

  11. Avatar

    Simon Small

    Thursday, April 22, 2021 at 8:35 am

    “Is domestic production owned by the rich?”

    Do you seriously not know, @Ben?

    Google “who owns siam bioscience” and you’ll get the answer.

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Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2012. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for 41 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program, presented over 10,000 radio news bulletins, 3,900 in Thailand alone, hosted 650 daily TV news programs and produced 2,100 videos, TV commercials and documentaries. As founder of The Thaiger, Tim now acts as the Content Manager and head-writer, whilst supervising the growth of the YouTube channel. He's reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and other major stories in Thailand.

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