“We are going to place an order for five million more doses from Sinovac, and we expect the shipment to come in from April to June. That is one part of the ministry’s vaccine management plan for securing people’s health and driving economic growth,” GPO’s director Witoon Danwiboon said after inspecting the batch of 800,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine which arrived at Suvarnabhumi airport yesterday morning.
The shipment yesterday is part of two million doses from Sinovac. The first 200,000 doses had been shipped to Thailand last month, and one million more doses would arrive in April, with another five million expected.
Apart from the Chinese vaccines, the government procured vaccines from AstraZeneca to supply all of the country’s remaining vaccine needs for the rest of this year.
A total of 26 million doses, made locally by Siam Bioscience, are expected to be available from June to August, with another 35 million to follow from September to December.
The rush to procure vaccines is in response to the increasing number of new infections found - over 100 cases a day - after the Bang Khae market cluster.
Yesterday in Samut Sakhon, the epicentre of the resurgence of COVID-19, the first shot of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine was injected in a vaccination programme organised for local leaders, important people and those aged 60 and over.
Samut Sakhon has been supplied with the highest volume of COVID-19 vaccines in the country, said provincial public health chief officer Naretrit Khatthasima.
The 10,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine received recently have also been distributed to all three districts of the province - Muang, Ban Phaeo and Krathum Baen, Dr Naretrit said.
Muang district received 5,000 doses, Bang Phaeo 2,000 doses and Krathum Baen 3,000 doses, he said. No serious side effects of these vaccinations have been found, he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Sophon Mekthon, assistant to the public health minister and chairman of a subcommittee on COVID-19 vaccine management, has urged Thai males to receive COVID-19 jabs because the Public Health Ministry’s monitoring found Thai males face a risk of death three times higher than that of women.
“For the new round of outbreak, we have found that 22 Thai males died from the disease, compared with only seven cases in women. Statistics also show that women tend to be more open to take vaccine jabs than males. I would like to invite gentlemen to get the vaccine because it could reduce the risk of death and severe infection,” he said.
According to the ministry, there are 61,791 people who have received COVID-19 inoculations. Among them, just 35.5% are male, with the average age of recipients from both sexes 44 years.
Divided into groups, 50.25% are medical staff, followed by 11.08% for medical volunteers, 6.26% for people living with non-communicable diseases, 32.39% for ordinary people and 0.02% for people aged over 60.