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AstraZeneca to send COVID jabs from Asia

AstraZeneca to send COVID jabs from Asia

THAILAND: The British/Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca will ship 150,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Thailand from a manufacturing plant based in Asia, rather than from Italy, in a bid to ensure no delivery delays, the government said yesterday (Feb 4).

By Bangkok Post

Friday 5 February 2021, 08:33AM

NVI director Nakorn Premsri, left, joins Disease Control Department director-general Opas Kankawinphong, centre, and AstraZeneca Thailand president James Teak at a signing ceremony at Government House last November. Photo: Government House.

NVI director Nakorn Premsri, left, joins Disease Control Department director-general Opas Kankawinphong, centre, and AstraZeneca Thailand president James Teak at a signing ceremony at Government House last November. Photo: Government House.

The announcement was relayed by Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, who said AstraZeneca sent a letter on Wednesday explaining the steps it will take to avoid disruptions to vaccine deliveries to Thailand, following the European Union’s decision to temporarily suspend vaccine exports from the bloc.

That said, the minister stopped short of confirming the exact date when the vaccines are due to arrive in the country.

The letter, Mr Anutin said, also urged the government to approve the licences and permits required to import the vaccines, as they will now come from Asia rather than Europe.

This is important as AstraZeneca was only approved by the Thai Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) to import COVID-19 vaccines from its manufacturing facilities in Europe.

Some 50,000 doses of the vaccines will be on their way to Thailand soon under this licence - however, the 150,000 doses which are scheduled to arrive in March and April will now be produced in Asia, as the EU moved to protect its own vaccine supplies by halting exports outside the region.

“We have put our best efforts in to secure vaccines, and we are expecting good news to come shortly,” Mr Anutin said.


“If we get it, it will allow us to test our vaccine distribution network.

“Anyway, even if we don’t get it, it won’t have an impact on our plan to give 26 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Thais in June,” he said, adding the need for vaccines isn’t as urgent as before, as the outbreak in Samut Sakhon has been brought largely under control.

The Public Health Ministry has secured an additional 35 million doses from AstraZeneca, which means the government now has 61 million doses in total, enough to inoculate just over 30 million Thais as planned, Mr Anutin said.

While Siam Bioscience is expected to eventually produce AstraZeneca’s vaccine locally under a technology-transfer agreement, Mr Anutin said it is AstraZeneca’s responsibility to ensure Thailand gets the vaccines it had bought, regardless of where they were produced.

“We have signed a contract with AstraZeneca for at least 61 million doses, not with Siam Bioscience. If Siam Bioscience’s plant can’t produce the vaccine, it means nothing to us. This is because the purchase agreement clearly stated that AstraZeneca will provide the vaccine, not Siam Bioscience,” he stressed.

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Kurt | 09 February 2021 - 07:38:29

The English and S-Africa variants of Covid-19 shine a different light on the Pandemic. Also in Thailand. Boosting Phuket tourism now doesn't make sense in keeping the island Covid-19 free. Tourism boosting is unwise. Expected profits, of course that is what it is about, soon will be overshadowed by heavier losses. Don't be penny wise, pound foolish.

Christy Sweet | 08 February 2021 - 23:04:57

 S Africa has stopped using the AZ vaccine. Soon it'll be evident what we are facing but it'll be too late. A gain of function virus is loose  SHUT THE AIRPORTS DOWN NOW while it can still be handled. Govt all over the world  needs to start paying people to stay home.     

Kurt | 08 February 2021 - 09:57:51

Why, when something 'civilian' at high level is happening we always have to see high ranking head shaved Thai personal on photos. Why? Is there now really nothing what can happen in Thailand without presents of army people? What is that? 

Kurt | 08 February 2021 - 09:48:03

I am reading complicated miss-handling management of vaccines by Thai officialdom. One thing is clear, minister Anutin doesn't trust  Siam Bioscience. So, if Anutin already not trust,  'we' can't trust it either, unless it is just a high level 'commission affair' play. Again, obvious Anutin has no clue how to play the international field in this matter, he is not enrolled i...

Capt B | 07 February 2021 - 14:48:01

Its only 62% effective. A failed AU Govt waste of taxpayers money too 


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