Plan afoot to get 200m jabs for next year
Added shots to be used as boosters
The National Vaccine Institute and the Public Health Ministry plan to purchase at least 200 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines for use next year as booster shots and dealing with variants of the virus.
Deputy Public Health Minister Sathit Pitutecha said the procurement is necessary as virus mutations emerge and as a second-generation of Covid-19 vaccines is being developed.
The minister was answering senators' questions in parliament about the government's vaccine procurement, vaccine rollout and communications plans.
He said health authorities are in talks with the AstraZeneca vaccine supplier which is in the process of developing a second-generation vaccine, adding that Pfizer and Sputnik V vaccines are also on the shopping list.
According to Mr Sathit, Thailand will have procured about 124 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines by the end of this year including 43.3 million doses of AstraZeneca and 30 million doses of Pfizer from this month through to December.
He expressed confidence that the vaccine distribution programme will meet the target, saying the ministry plans to inoculate 100% of vulnerable groups by the end of October.
The groups comprise the elderly, people living with seven underlying illnesses and pregnant women.
"We did have issues with vaccine rollout in the beginning but I can assure you vaccine distribution will proceed according to plan after negotiations with vaccine producers.
"Thailand will have enough vaccines to inoculate people and we will speed up the vaccination of vulnerable groups. The ministry will take a proactive approach to get these groups vaccinated as soon as possible," he said.
Meanwhile, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) will open registration of the Thai Ruam Jai vaccination programme on Thursday after 100,000 registrants failed to show up.
The registration is open to Thai nationals aged 18 and over, who live in Bangkok and have never had a vaccine. The vaccines will be administered next Tuesday and Wednesday at its vaccination sites across the city.
They can register via www.ไทยร่วมใจ.com, the Pao Tang e-wallet mobile app or at convenience stores. According to the BMA, the AstraZeneca vaccine will be given.
Nonthaburi will provide walk-in vaccination services for 5,000 people at The Mall shopping complex Ngamwongwan branch from 10am to 3pm. Recipients will get the Sinovac vaccine for their first shot and AstraZeneca for their second.