AstraZeneca jabs 'will be on time'

AstraZeneca jabs 'will be on time'

A health official prepares a Covid-19 vaccine shot in Bang Khunthian district, Bangkok. (File photo: Apichart Jinakul)
A health official prepares a Covid-19 vaccine shot in Bang Khunthian district, Bangkok. (File photo: Apichart Jinakul)

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul insists the government will be ready to launch a massive Covid-19 vaccination programme as promised from June 7 using AstraZeneca's vaccine.

Mr Anutin wanted to allay the public's fears over the company's readiness to deliver what it has promised.

Speaking after meeting with company representatives on Tuesday, the deputy prime minister said that AstraZeneca had given him updated information and the discussion had been very positive.

He did not specify the exact date the company would deliver its first vaccine batch to the ministry but said the company would provide further deliveries every month.

"What we can say right now is that the company will be able to send its vaccine continuously every month," Mr Anutin said. "The amount will be based on discussions between the company and the Department of Disease Control (DDC).

"We can't say the exact date we will get our first delivery from the company but we are confident that it will be ready by June 7.

Talks between AstraZeneca representatives and Mr Anutin were held on Tuesday amid scepticism the company would be able to fulfil the ministry's orders after many hospitals were forced to cancel appointments citing a shortage of vaccines.

The British-Swedish company has so far sent about 100,000 vaccine doses to satisfy a special government request in February, when the country was facing a surge of infections.

AstraZeneca on Tuesday confirmed to the Bangkok Post said it would be able to provide its vaccine to Thailand next month.

A company representative also told the Post its new supply chain for Thailand was nearing completion and would serve an important role in maintaining continuous supplies to Thailand and Southeast Asia.

As part of the manufacturing process, each vaccine batch must undergo over 60 different quality assurance control tests and review processes. The system is designed to ensure each dose is of the same high quality that can be expected from any AstraZeneca product.

"We are currently waiting for the final reviews from the first batch of our Covid-19 vaccines manufactured in Thailand," the company said.

"We expect to have more information this week and to update the government of Thailand on a delivery schedule immediately afterwards. Ensuring the fastest high-quality production of the vaccine is our single most critical focus."

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