Thai health minister urges understanding over Covid-19 vaccine plan

Anutin Charnvirakul.

BANGKOK (Reuters): Thailand's health minister called for understanding on Tuesday (Jan 26) and sought to explain the country's coronavirus vaccine procurement plan, following criticism that the government has lacked transparency and been too slow in securing supplies.

The strategy came under scrutiny last week when banned opposition politician Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit said the government had been too reliant on a company owned by King Maha Vajiralongkorn to produce vaccines for Thais while failing to negotiate multiple deals, as other countries have.

Thanathorn faces a royal insult lawsuit for mentioning the King in questions he had raised regarding royal-owned Siam Bioscience, which will manufacture the AstraZeneca vaccine locally for regional distribution.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said Thailand started negotiating in April with "every vaccine producer" but its laws prevented government agencies from making non-refundable down payments for products not yet manufactured.

AstraZeneca presented the best option with its lower-priced vaccines and promised technology transfer to Siam Bioscience, he said.

"The offer from AstraZeneca to use a factory in Thailand to produce its vaccines to sell in South-east Asia means vaccine security for Thailand," Mr Anutin said in a Facebook post addressed to Thanathorn.

"Please believe that we don't have a political aim and don't wish to use public health and safety as a political tool."

Thailand will receive 26 million doses of locally produced AstraZeneca vaccines via Siam Bioscience, and has separately reserved 35 million other doses with the firm. It has also ordered two million doses of Sinovac Biotech's vaccine.

Anutin said 63 million doses would vaccinate 31.5 million of Thailand's 70 million people, enough to reach herd immunity.

On Monday, he said AstraZeneca had confirmed it would ship 150,000 doses to Thailand, which plans to start its first inoculation with 50,000 doses next month.

The country reported a daily record 959 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday after a ramping-up of testing in Samut Sakhon province, the epicentre of its most recent outbreak.

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 18
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3

Thailand , covid-19 , vaccination , Anutin


Did you find this article insightful?


100% readers found this article insightful

Next In Aseanplus News

Asean News Headlines as at 7pm on Saturday (March 6)
Hundreds of Thai protesters rally to demand leaders' release
Indian farmers block highway outside Delhi to mark 100th day of protest as Covid-19 cases are surging again
Philippines logs 3,439 new Covid-19 cases; among the highest number seen in country over the last few months
Thai economic stimulus package benefits people, businesses, says PM; only 64 cases found on Saturday (March 6)
Expatriates join Indonesians in calling out foreign anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers in Bali; Covid-19 cases now at 1,373,836
S'pore set to raise penalties for 3 sex crimes; offender's qualifications doest matter; 13 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday (March 6)
Indonesia's Pertamina aims to start green refinery operations by end 2021
WarnerMedia YA original series 'Forbidden' Begins Shoot in Thailand
Over 2,000 people being isolated over Covid-19 concerns in Laos

Stories You'll Enjoy