Thailand approves Sinovac vaccine for emergency use; confirms 95 cases on Tuesday (Feb 23)

A health worker gets ready to collect samples during proactive testing of migrant workers at their work place, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak in Samut Sakhon province in Thailand, January 27, 2021. - Reuters

BANGKOK, Feb 23 (Xinhua): Thailand has approved Sinovac Biotech's Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use, paving the way for the country to receive its first vaccine shipment of 200,000 doses from the Chinese biopharmaceutical firm on Wednesday (Feb 24).

The country's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared the Sinovac vaccine for emergency use, and the first batch, aboard a Thai Airways International plane, is scheduled to arrive at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi international airport Wednesday morning, Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul confirmed onTuesday (Feb 23).

The authorisation for the Sinovac vaccine will be valid for one year, according to the FAD approval letter that Anutin posted on his Facebook account.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha will go to the airport to observe the delivery of the Chinese vaccine, said a government official, who requested anonymity due to lack of authority.

Prayut said Monday that he may be among the first people in the country to get vaccinated with the Sinovac vaccine.

The first Sinovac shots will be administered to at-risk groups, including medical workers, close contacts with Covid-19 patients, people with certain chronic illnesses and people aged 60 years or older, according to the Disease Control Department.

The Southeast Asian country ordered two million doses from Sinovac, with the second batch of 800,000 doses scheduled for delivery next month, followed by the third batch of one million doses in April.

On Tuesday, Thailand's total Covid-19 caseload rose to 25,599, with more than four-fifths of the infections being detected since the new wave of outbreak erupted in mid-December.

Thailand recorded 95 new confirmed cases of Covid-19, marking the fourth consecutive day with the number of daily cases below 100, according to its Centre for the Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

The new cases included 93 domestic and two imported infections, CCSA spokesperson Taweesin Visanuyothin told a press briefing.

The domestic cases included 54 detected in Samut Sakhon province and two in the capital Bangkok, said the spokesperson.

Thailand has so far reported 25,599 confirmed cases of Covid-19, 22,885 of which were domestic cases.

So far, 24,446 patients have fully recovered from the coronavirus epidemic in the Southeast Asian country. Currently, 1,070 patients are being treated in hospitals, and the Covid-19 death toll stands at 83 in Thailand. - Xinhua
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