As Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha issued a new set of new restrictions taking effect today, the Health Ministry confirmed that 2 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine, known as CoronaVac, would be available next month to begin inoculating people with the highest risks for infections, according to reports from Bloomberg News.
The Sinovac vaccine will arrive in three batches; the first 200,000 doses arriving in February, 800,000 in March, and another 1 million in April, stated the Health Ministry.
It also confirmed that local production is underway of AstraZeneca developed vaccines under a technology transfer agreement, expected to be ready for distribution in May.
Developed by Beijing based pharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech Ltd, CoronaVac underwent trials in Brazil, China, Turkey and Indonesia. Last week Ukraine confirmed it has ordered 2 million doses.
At time of press, however, the vaccine has yet to pass phase three of clinical testing.
The vaccine works by exposing the body’s immune system to the virus via killed viral particles without risking a serious disease response.
“CoronaVac is a more traditional method [of vaccine] that is successfully used in many well known vaccines like rabies,” Associate Prof Luo Dahai of the Nanyang Technological University told the BBC.
PM Prayut said the government has targeted the inoculation of 50% of the population, about 33 million people, by the end of 2021 and will enlist vaccines from various sources, such as the World Health Organization-backed Covax program and other vaccine developers.
There were 745 new coronavirus cases recorded in Thailand today, the largest daily increase since the beginning of the pandemic. Of this number, 709 were local transmissions, bringing the total since COVID-19 first appeared in January 2020 to 8,439. One additional death was reported, raising the accumulated toll to 65.