AZ heralds supply to Thais

AZ heralds supply to Thais

1.8m doses reach ministry this week

AstraZeneca has announced the official launch of its supply chain in Thailand, with the first doses of locally produced Covid-19 vaccine ready to be rolled out.

The firm said it will deliver the first locally-produced vaccine to the Public Health Ministry within days.

It did not say exactly when the company will deliver the vaccine, but a company source told the Bangkok Post that the company will deliver the first batch of 1.8 million doses to the Public Health Ministry this week so the ministry can use it as the key vaccine under the government's mass vaccination campaign starting next Monday.

The supply chain was established in partnership with Siam Bioscience, a Thai manufacturer which specialises in biopharmaceutical medicines, to support "broad and equitable access" to the vaccine in Southeast Asia, the company said.

Distribution to other Southeast Asian countries will commence in the coming weeks.

James Teague, country president, AstraZeneca (Thailand), said: "This is a major milestone in the battle against Covid-19. Ramping up the production of our vaccine in Thailand in only a few months is a tremendous achievement, thanks to the outstanding collaboration with our manufacturing partner, Siam Bioscience.

"Now that we are ready to deliver a high-quality vaccine produced locally, we can help the government achieve its goal of ensuring the effective vaccination of people in Thailand as quickly as possible."

Air Chief Marshal Satitpong Sukvimol, chairman of Siam Bioscience, and Mr Teague together marked the milestone at a ceremony yesterday.

Nualphan Lamsam, director of corporate communications, Siam Bioscience, said: "Siam Bioscience is proud to have been selected by AstraZeneca as its local manufacturing partner and we take our role of producing high-quality Covid-19 vaccine as fast as possible very seriously.

"It is an honour to work for the wellbeing of the Thai people, to help bring the acute phase of the pandemic in Thailand and the region to an end."

The first doses of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine have been authorised for quality and safety by both local regulators and international testing laboratories, now allowing their release this week.

As part of the manufacturing process, each batch of the vaccine undergoes more than 60 different quality assurance control tests and review processes.

Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, meanwhile, said 1.1 million doses of both Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines imported from different countries are being distributed to all parts of the country.

The nationwide distribution of this batch of the vaccine, which began on Tuesday, is aimed at assuring fairness in access to vaccine supplies to all provinces, while at the same time ensuring that provinces with a more serious number of cases are given more doses, he said.

"This month will be a month of Covid-19 vaccine distribution and the government's vaccination drive will definitely go as planned," he said.

So far Thailand has secured a total of 6 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine, 5.5 million doses of which were ordered by the government and the rest donated by the Chinese government, he said.

And between this month and August, 11 million more doses of the Sinovac vaccine will arrive, or between 2.5 and 3 million doses per month, he said.

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