Health officials say 50% of Thais will receive Covid-19 vaccine this year

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)

Health officials say 50% of Thais will receive Covid-19 vaccine this

The chief of the Department of Disease Control, part of the Ministry of Public Health, says plans are underway to vaccinate 30 million Thais by the end of 2021. Opas Karnkawinpong says thousands of public and community hospitals across the country will be involved in the national vaccine rollout, with vaccines distributed from central storage sites at the Department of Disease Control and the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation.

“If everything goes to plan, we can start administering at least 5 million doses per month and later, up to 10 million doses per month, to complete 61 million doses in 2021. This is the largest vaccination programme in our history and we need to get all our staff ready to do the job.

According to a Bangkok Post report, the programme will be carried out in 3 phases, with 2 million doses expected to be given at the end of March. Phases 2 and 3 will follow from June, when 61 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine will be rolled out. Meanwhile, Chinese regulators have given the go-ahead to export the Sinovac Biotech vaccine, meaning it’s now just waiting for approval from Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration.

To date, the FDA has only approved 1 vaccine, which is the AstraZeneca offering. Following a row between the manufacturer and the EU over supplies to EU member states, the bloc has placed restrictions on the export of the vaccine beyond the EU. As a result, AstraZeneca has confirmed that Thailand’s supply will come from a manufacturing plant in Asia, and not from Italy as originally planned. Thailand is expecting the first 200,000 doses at some point this month, with healthcare workers and “high-risk” residents in the red zone of Samut Sakhon expected to be first in line for inoculation.

Next up, in March, will be 600,000 doses for “high-risk” populations in maximum-control provinces, including those bordering Myanmar and parts of southern Thailand. In April, the Kingdom is expected to take delivery of 1 million doses, with 600,000 being administered as a second dose and 400,000 reserved for urgent cases.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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