Thammasat aims to import second-generation vaccines
Thammasat University is planning to import second-generation Covid-19 vaccines that confer greater immunity against the disease, though it won't bring in brand names which had already been procured by the government, it said on Tuesday.
The announcement came after the university announced on Monday that it will invoke a clause under existing disease control regulations, which would allow it to provide assistance during a public health emergency.
The university has come up with a set of rules to regulate the vaccine procurement -- which the university's council -- has agreed to, but ultimately the plan will depend on the cabinet's approval.
Thammasat University Hospital (TUH) had previously complained to the government after it received less vaccines than it had expected, which the hospital said has hampered its ability to curb the spread of the disease.
If the plan goes through, the university will be authorised to acquire vaccines, both domestically or from overseas, to shore up the domestic shortage of Covid-19 jabs.
The university is also seeking to import other essential medical equipment, as well as antigen test kits (ATKs) for which it plans to apply for the appropriate import licences.
Paruhat Tor-udom, TUH director, said the university is exploring the possibility of purchasing a different brand of vaccine than those imported by other state agencies such as the Government Pharmaceutical Organization and the Chulabhorn Royal Academy.
State agencies have already obtained or are in the process of ordering Covid-19 jabs from Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Sinopharm.
Dr Paruhat said among the options being mulled are the Novavax vaccine and the improved version of Moderna's Covid-19 jab.
The university is also looking for partners, which include other medical schools and a coalition of privately run hospitals, for the procurement project.
The director added the university is keen to import ATKs to boost the domestic availability of testing kits, which it plans to sell at between 45-50 baht a piece.
The low prices will enable people to buy several ATKs for repeated testing, in order to get more accurate results.