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AZ contract a mystery

Re: "AstraZeneca delays 61m doses", (BP, 16 July), "Fate of 100m-dose vaccination hangs in the air", (BP, 17 July) and "Anutin insists AZ lift local jab target from 3 million", (BP, 18 July).

I'm getting the distinct impression that the government has not been entirely candid about its agreement with AstraZeneca.

On July 16, Deputy Public Health Minister Sathit Pitutecha said: "AstraZeneca has asked Thailand to extend the timeline for the delivery of 61 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine until May next year."

That statement suggests that AstraZeneca forced a contractual change.

Is the 10 million figure simply a number in the government's roadmap, or is it actually part of AstraZeneca contract?

In any case, "the government recently admitted the company can supply Thailand only 5-6 million doses a month, or one third of its total supply, while the rest will be exported."

The following day, we have news of a leaked contractual agreement and correspondence between the government and AstraZeneca: "A letter sent by Sjoerd Hubben, vice-president for global corporate affairs of AstraZeneca Inc, to Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul 22 days ago … explains to the ministry that the most Thailand would get from the European drugmaker's local contract manufacturer would [be] 5-6 million doses a month, which is consistent with their earlier discussions."

This suggests to me that the 10 million per month figure was never a firm contractual commitment.

If so, that comes as surprise because the government had said many times that 100 million doses would be given by the end of the year to inoculate at least 70% of the population, with 61 million of the doses being locally produced AstraZeneca.

On various occasions, the government assured people that AstraZeneca would supply at least 10 million doses a month for the rest of the year.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul argued that the country needed a much larger quantity.

He advocated for at least 10 million doses a month for the national vaccination campaign. Mr Anutin said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha backed his stance on the need for more doses.

The minister said the government "hoped" AstraZeneca will be able to deliver the vaccine to meet the government's target.

In his reply, the minister said "the government expected the company to roll out more than one-third [of the target] for Thailand."

Need, advocacy, hope and expectation are wonderful platitudes.

But Thailand needs vaccine doses for its national vaccine roll-out.

Did Mr Anutin ever actually secure a contractual commitment for 10 million doses a month?


Jails only for the poor

Re: "Boon probed for THB purchases", (BP, 17 July).

The spouse of Dr Boon Vanasin, Thonburi Healthcare Group head, reportedly bought 950,000 THG shares on July 2-13, ending one day before he told the BBC that THG was buying 20 mlllion highly sought-after Pfizer vaccine doses, sending the THG share prices sharply up.

Her trades scream for a thorough, timely, transparent, impartial SEC investigation for insider trading.

The SEC has the powers. For too long our jails have been only for the poor.


Name the agencies

Come on, Bangkok Post!

Your front page story on July 16 tells us there are five agencies allowed to procure vaccines for distribution, and you name the ones we all know, that is the GPO, CRA, and the Red Cross.

With all the intrigue swirling around about the procurement of vaccines by the government and various other parties, why be so coy about naming the other two?


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