Shots pass testing, rollout on the way
The first batch of Sinovac Covid-19 vaccines that arrived Thailand on Wednesday has passed the Department of Medical Sciences' quality tests and are ready for delivery to state hospitals, according to Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul.
"The tests have already been carried by the Department of Medical Sciences. They are now ready to be sent to all hospitals for people under the Ministry of Public Health's Covid-19 vaccine management plan," Mr Anutin posted on his Facebook account.
Dr Supakit Sirilak, chief of the Department of Medical Sciences (DMS), said that tests on 320 shots from the shipment, showed that the vaccines had been produced according to the standards set out in the contract.
They were the first 200,000 out of two million doses of "CoronaVac" -- the name given to it by the China-based Sinovac pharmaceutical firm.
Another batch of 800,000 doses is due to arrive in April with the remaining one million arriving in May.
The DMS has already informed the Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO), tasked with overseeing the shipment, about the outcome of the quality testing, according to Dr Supakit.
The next step will be for the GPO to ask the Department of Disease Control to provide a list of hospitals set to receive the Sinovac vaccine.
"It is expected that the vaccines will be dispatched to the targeted hospitals over the weekend," Dr Supakit told media at a press briefing.
The vaccines will be sent to 13 provinces. The largest share -- or 70,000 doses -- will be used in Samut Sakon, the province with the biggest cluster of infections in the country while 66,000 will go to western Bangkok.
The rest will be sent to tourist provinces such as Rayong (4,700 doses), Koh Samui island in Surat Thani province (2,500), Phuket (4,000) and Chiang Mai (3,500).
The vaccines are now being kept in a temperature-controlled warehouse owned by DKSH, the logistics company appointed to oversee that the nationwide distribution proceeds smoothly.
The vaccines must be kept at between two and eights degrees Celsius at all times.