Private firms may get vaccine import nod

Private firms may get vaccine import nod

A panel of advisers at the Public Health Ministry on Thursday suggested private companies be allowed to import another 15-20 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine by the end of this year.

Dr Sopon Mekthon, vice-minister at the ministry, said a panel of advisers to the public health minister had agreed that Thailand still needed more doses of Covid-19 vaccines, in addition to the planned 63 million doses, some of which have already arrived.

Thailand has a population of about 65 million. If about 15 million teenagers were subtracted from the sum, the number of those eligible for vaccines would be about 50 million, plus another five million foreign migrants, Dr Sopon said.

With a calculation based on 80% of the 55 million people, about 40 million would receive two jabs of vaccines each which would require about 80 million doses, he said.

Apart from the planned 63 million doses, about 15-20 million more should be procured, though details regarding the prices had yet to be discussed, Dr Sopon said.

Dr Paisarn Dunkum, secretary-general of the FDA, said yesterday the private sector was welcome to import vaccines, though they needed to register with the FDA first. So far, no private hospitals have applied for registration, Dr Paisarn said.

Apart from Sinovac and AstraZeneca, other vaccine producers such as Johnson & Johnson and Bharat Biotech have applied for registration, Dr Paisarn said.

Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin said yesterday that an idea has been mooted to procure coronavirus vaccines for around 2.3 million foreign migrant workers under the social security system.

"However, this is just an idea. The board of the Social Security Office is studying its possibility. No purchase has been made yet," Mr Suchart said.

He said that if the vaccination for migrant workers is to materialse, it will take place only after most Thais receive vaccines.

The Public Health Ministry yesterday reported that another 99 people who had received Covid-19 vaccines experienced unpleasant conditions or side-effects, taking the accumulated number of cases to 119.

Of the 99 vaccine recipients, 59 had localised soreness while 19 experienced nausea; 11 had chest tightness; six had body chills; two had fevers, one felt fatigue and one had body aches.

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