Japan to donate AstraZeneca vaccines to Thailand

Japan to donate AstraZeneca vaccines to Thailand

A health worker prepares a dose of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine against the coronavirus disease at the Central Vaccination Centre, inside the Bang Sue Grand Station in Bangkok, on Monday. (Reuters photo)
A health worker prepares a dose of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine against the coronavirus disease at the Central Vaccination Centre, inside the Bang Sue Grand Station in Bangkok, on Monday. (Reuters photo)

Health minister Anutin Charnvirakul said on Monday Japan's government would donate some AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines, as the country seeks to shore-up supplies after some early delays in vaccinations.

An agreement would be signed on Thursday with the vaccines to be delivered around July, he said in a statement, which did not specify the quantity.

The mass vaccination drive that started this month relies heavily on AstraZeneca shots produced locally by Siam Bioscience, which experienced some delays, also impacting Taiwan, Malaysia and the Philippines.

The country has for nearly three months been fighting the most severe coronavirus outbreak so far, which has accounted for 95% of domestic Covid-19 deaths.

The government has planned a phased reopening to foreign tourists over the coming months, starting with the resort island of Phuket in July, but much depends on progress in vaccinations.

The country has also used the Sinovac vaccine, some of which was donated by China, and has fully vaccinated 2.1 million of the total population of 66 million people. 

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