Govt orders 20m doses of Pfizer jab

Govt orders 20m doses of Pfizer jab

The government has approved the order of 20 million doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul told the media on Thursday that Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, head of the Department of Disease Control, has signed a contract to buy 20 million doses of Pfizer vaccine to be delivered this year.

The department will have a month to discuss with Pfizer the conditions and price while the company must send documents to register the vaccine with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

As for the procurement of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Mr Anutin said the government has already received approval from the Office of the Attorney-General.

A contract has not yet been signed, as Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the vaccine maker, has to accept the deal first.

He said the government has also agreed with AstraZeneca to receive supplies of its vaccine every week.

"The government has contacted all vaccine makers to seek more vaccine doses as the pandemic does not seem to have stopped spreading.

"Plus, no research is certain about the efficacy period so people who were vaccinated in February are advised to get more doses to stimulate immunity," he said.

Permanent secretary of public health Kiattiphum Wongrajit said a million more doses of the Sinovac vaccine arrived in Thailand yesterday, bringing the total to 7.5 million, but they must be tested by the FDA and the documents inspected by the Department of Medical Science first before being used.

"As at the current rate, we can vaccinate at a rate of 400,000 doses per day, so all one million doses will be used up in three days. So, the government needs to seek three million more doses of Sinovac and sign other contracts for more doses," Dr Kiattiphum said.

As for vaccination using Sinovac jabs in children aged over three, he said research in China is needed first to validate the safety.

Deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek also said on her Facebook page that AstraZeneca had told the government that it was postponing the delivery of more supplies for two days from Monday.

Nevertheless, AstraZeneca (Thailand) Ltd assured that it was committed to delivering the vaccine doses by next Friday.

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