35m more shots to be bought in 2021

35m more shots to be bought in 2021

Goal is to inoculate half of population

A medical worker shows a vial of Sinovac Biotech vaccine against the Covid-19 coronavirus at a healthcare centre in Yantai, in eastern China's Shandong province on Tuesday. (Photo by STR / AFP)
A medical worker shows a vial of Sinovac Biotech vaccine against the Covid-19 coronavirus at a healthcare centre in Yantai, in eastern China's Shandong province on Tuesday. (Photo by STR / AFP)

The cabinet has approved plans to procure 35 million more doses of Covid-19 vaccines, adding to 28 million to be shipped in the first half, as part of its plan to inoculate at least half of the population.

Under current plans, China-based Sinovac Biotech will supply 2 million doses under a budget of 1.2 billion baht, according to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration Facebook.

They must be approved by the Food and Drugs Administrations of both China and Thailand. The Government Pharmaceutical Organization will import them and the Disease Control Department will buy and distribute them locally.  

The first lot of 200,000 doses to be available next month will go to 20,000 health personnel in the red zone such as Samut Sakhon, Rayong and Chon Buri. The remaining 180,000 shots are for high-risk groups with complications and other groups that urgently need them.

Of the second lot of 800,000 doses due in March, 200,000 will go to the first group as their second shots. The remaining 600,000 doses are for provinces in the red zone and western and southern border provinces, as well as more health personnel including village volunteers, patients with complications and others.

Of the third lot of 1 million doses due in April, 600,000 will be the second doses for the second group. The remaining 400,000 are for other personnel.

In the middle of the year, 26 million doses of locally produced AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccines will be available.

Since the existing plans involve a total of 28 million doses for 14 million people, the prime minister on Tuesday approved the procurement of another 35 million shots so the total will be 63 million doses for this year, which should cover almost half of the population.

Talks will be held to buy from other manufacturers including Pfizer, Moderna, Covax and others. Another CCSA Facebook post also had an infographic showing another 26 million doses will be ordered from AstraZeneca. 

Sinovac Biotech in early December last year secured a $515 million funding for the vaccine production from China-based Sino Biopharmaceutical Ltd, a subsidiary of the Charoen Pokphand Group. The investment gave Sino Biopharmaceutical a 15% stake in Sinovac Life Sciences, the unit in charge of CoronaVac production. 

Thailand-based Siam Bioscience Co Ltd, 100%-owned by the Crown Property Bureau, produces the vaccines for AstraZeneca, with a capacity of 200 million doses a year for exports to Asean.

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