AstraZeneca seeking more doses for Thailand, Asean

AstraZeneca seeking more doses for Thailand, Asean

Vials labelled Astra Zeneca Covid-19 Coronavirus Vaccine and a syringe are seen in front of a displayed AstraZeneca logo, in this illustration photo taken March 14 this year. (Reuters photo)
Vials labelled Astra Zeneca Covid-19 Coronavirus Vaccine and a syringe are seen in front of a displayed AstraZeneca logo, in this illustration photo taken March 14 this year. (Reuters photo)

AstraZeneca Plc is "scouring" its global supply chain to try and boost Covid-19 vaccine supplies to Thailand and Southeast Asia, its representative for the country said on Saturday, amidst speculations of local production shortfalls.

The comments come after leaked letters  showed last week that the drugmaker had offered to supply 5-6 million vaccine doses a month to Thailand, contradicting assertions by Thai officials that the government is owed 10 million a month and 61 million doses by the end of 2021.

AstraZeneca is "scouring the 20+ supply chains in our worldwide manufacturing network to find additional vaccines for Southeast Asia, including Thailand", James Teague, managing director of AstraZeneca Thailand, said in a statement.

"We are hopeful of importing additional doses in the months ahead," he added.

The drugmaker had previously said vaccine doses for Thailand and Southeast Asia would come from a plant of its Thai partner Siam Bioscience, owned by His Majesty the King and a first-time vaccine maker.

Pressure has been mounting on the company after Thailand said it was considering imposing limits on exports of locally manufactured AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines to shore up domestic supplies, a move that could hit its neighbours, some of which are battling similar or more severe Covid-19 crises.

Siam Bioscience has not commented on reports of production shortfalls or delivery timelines.

Mr Teague said AstraZeneca has delivered 9 million does so far to Thailand and will deliver 2.3 million more next week.

Thailand has fully inoculated just 5.56% of its population of more than 66 million so far, while 18.62% have received at least one dose, government data shows.

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