THG set to import Moderna

THG set to import Moderna

Five million doses planned initially

A medical worker administers a Covid-19 vaccine at the Romklao branch of Big C. Apichit Jinakul
A medical worker administers a Covid-19 vaccine at the Romklao branch of Big C. Apichit Jinakul

SET-listed Thonburi Healthcare Group Plc (THG) will import 5 million doses of Moderna vaccines through the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO) in the third or fourth quarter this year in a bid to help solve the vaccine shortage.

The company expects to get approval from the GPO within the coming month.

THG wants to buy a total of 10 million doses but will first bring in half.

Boon Vanasin, chairman of THG, said Thailand should use various types of vaccines to fight variants of the Covid-19 virus. Moreover, the variety of vaccines will help build herd immunity faster.

The government is distributing UK-made AstraZeneca and Chinese-made Sinovac to people currently. Many agencies, including the Federation of Thai Industries, have also ordered from another Chinese brand, Sinopharm, through the Chulabhorn Royal Academy.

"THG is waiting for the GPO to approve the import of Moderna vaccines. Many steps are required in the approval process," Dr Boon said.

He said the government should speed up granting approvals by reducing unnecessary regulations that do not facilitate companies' plans to import vaccines, including alternative vaccines to those under the state mass inoculation scheme.

People take pictures after receiving Covid-19 vaccines under the Section 33 of the Social Security Act at Fashion Island shopping mall. Varuth Hirunyatheb

More and faster vaccine rollouts for people are needed because the third wave of Covid-19 remains volatile, with high rates of infection reported every day.

Thailand's total Covid-19 caseload crossed 200,000 Tuesday morning, according to the Public Health Ministry.

So far, the government has administered more than 6 million vaccines, around 10% of the total population, but this is still far from its goal of 70% within this year.

THG said its hospitals have become the only private healthcare group to buy a large supply of vaccines as the group wants to prepare for the possibility of a fourth outbreak.

"Other private hospitals under the Private Hospital Association Thailand don't procure a large amount because the government has a policy to give vaccines free of charge to the public," Dr Boon said, adding they plan to buy around 10,000 doses each.

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