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Anutin insists AstraZeneca must do more

THAILAND: Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul admits he received a letter from the AstraZeneca company saying it has the capacity to supply Thailand with just three million doses of its vaccine a month.

CoronavirusCOVID-19healthVaccine
By Bangkok Post

Sunday 18 July 2021, 11:48AM


Anutin: AstraZeneca must do more. Photo: Bangkok Post

Anutin: AstraZeneca must do more. Photo: Bangkok Post

However, Mr Anutin insisted he wrote back to say the country needed at least 10 million doses a month to combat surging daily infections.

The company’s letter was dated June 25 and Mr Anutin’s reply was made five days later.

In an interview with Isranews Agency, which obtained the leaked letter, Mr Anutin said he argued the country needed a much larger quantity. He advocated for at least 10 million doses a month for the national vaccination campaign.

Mr Anutin said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha backed his stance.

The minister said the government hoped AstraZeneca will be able to deliver the vaccine to meet the government’s target.

The correspondence came as vaccine supplies are reportedly running short, forcing several non-hospital vaccination points in Bangkok to suspend operations.

On Thursday, AstraZeneca asked Thailand to extend the timeline for delivery of 61 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine until May next year, Deputy Public Health Minister Sathit Pitutecha said. The move was feared to strike a further blow to the country’s vaccine roll-out.

In its letter, AstraZeneca referred to an agreement reached in September last year that it would supply the Public Health Ministry with one-third of the vaccines it can produce, or three million doses per month.

It intends to export the remaining two-thirds, spurring talks about the government placing curbs on vaccine exports to ensure local supplies are met first.

In his reply, the minister said the government expected the company to roll out more than one-third for Thailand.

Yesterday (July 17), the minister said the Department of Disease Control (DoDC) has been in talks with its contractual partner, AstraZeneca (Thailand), to increase vaccine supplies and deliver them as fast as possible.

The talks are conducted through a special panel comprised of DoDC director-general Opas Karnkawinpong, National Vaccine Institute director Nakhon Premsri and legal experts.

“The government will get hold of the vaccine and administer it to every Thai citizen until the virus is wiped out or becomes a common disease,” Mr Anutin said.

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Christy Sweet | 18 July 2021 - 19:13:37

Why refer to the name of the vaccine? The company slacking off is called Siam Bioscience. Is there some law against criticism or something? Thailand's foundation of corruption is crumbling right before our eyes. 

Xi_Virus | 18 July 2021 - 15:48:02

“The government will get hold of the vaccine and administer it to every Thai citizen until the virus is wiped out or becomes a common disease,” Mxr Anutin said.

This UNEDUCATED man hasn't yet understood that this virus won't wipe out!!!

Kurt | 18 July 2021 - 13:05:20

Anutin is 'blinding' the truth in dizzy making jackets. Sept 2020 AZ offered 6 million doses per month to him. Anutin refused, signed only for 3 million. Now, thai traditional, Anutin is to late as he talked just yesterday with AZ. Anutin is the last in que for vaccine supply. Thailand can thanks him.

 

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