Philippines confirms delay in imports of AstraZeneca doses from Thailand

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The Philippines has announced that the arrival of a first batch of AstraZeneca vaccines being imported from Thailand has been delayed. The delivery of the vaccines, manufactured in Thailand and ordered by the Philippines, has now been pushed back by several weeks.

According to a Bangkok Post report, the development gives rise to questions about Thailand’s distribution plans for Southeast Asia, which hinges on 200 million AstraZeneca doses being manufactured by Siam Bioscience. The company, which is owned by the Crown Property Bureau, is embarking on vaccine manufacture for the first time.

A presidential adviser in the Philippines, with responsibility for coordinating vaccine procurement between the government and private sector, says he’s been advised that the delivery of the first batch, containing 1.3 million doses, is being pushed back from the third week in June to the middle of July. Joey Concepcion says the number of doses is also being reduced to 1.17 million.

The Bangkok Post reports that neither Siam Bioscience nor AstraZeneca have replied to questions about production at the Thai manufacturing site. Concepcion says he’s in regular touch with AstraZeneca, who advised him of the delay. He adds that a second lot of 1.3 million doses is also being reduced to 1.17 million and delivery of that batch has been postponed from July to August.

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“It is a new plant they are running, that is how it is when you start a new plant.”

Meanwhile, in Thailand, both the PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha, and Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul have insisted government orders of the AstraZeneca vaccine will arrive in time for the national rollout, which kicks off on June 7.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Maya Taylor

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