One million more Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine doses have arrived in Thailand as authorities report that about 530,000 doses have been administered in all 77 provinces.
Deputy government spokeswoman Traisuree Taisaranakul said the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO) yesterday received one million doses of the Sinovac vaccine.
The first lot of 200,000 doses produced by the company in China arrived in Thailand on 24th February and the second lot of 800,000 doses on 22nd March.
The three lots are part of the government’s urgent plan to buy two million doses to inoculate people in the country.
The GPO has bought 500,000 doses itself. They are expected to arrive later this month.
As of 9th April, over one million doses were allocated to healthcare facilities and hospitals nationwide. A total of 537,380 people nationwide had been vaccinated. Of them, 470,301 have received their first shots.
Also, 195,483 people who received the first shot are public health workers, 47,219 are frontline officers, 25,563 are people of 60 years of age and over, 21,501 people are those with congenital diseases and 180,535 residents in at-risk areas.
In all, 67,079 people have received their second shots, most of them public health workers.
Bangkok has the highest number of vaccinations at 113,367, followed by Samut Sakhon at 113,111, Phuket at 76,704, Surat Thani at 26,735 and Tak at 24,030.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday explained the country’s disease control measures and vaccine progress on his PM Podcast programme, saying a meeting between the government and private hospitals agreed to set up a public-private joint committee to buy about 10 million doses or more.
With COVID-19 vaccines bought by the private sector, around 40 million people or 60-70% of the population will be vaccinated to create herd immunity, the premier said.
Regarding domestic vaccine manufacturing by Siam Bioscience, Gen Chan-o-cha said progress was satisfactory. The vaccine had been sent to labs in the UK and US for quality inspection. The results would be announced soon, the PM said.
Gen Chan-o-cha also encouraged people who wished to register for vaccination to do so via the Line account “Mor Phrom” starting in May. The account could also issue digital vaccine certificates to them for reference, he said.
Meanwhile, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said the ministry welcomed the private sector’s plan to buy COVID-19 vaccines.
Mr Charnvirakul said the ministry had talked to many vaccine manufacturers. They were ready to register their vaccine with the government but there were problems regarding the quantity sought and the delivery timeframe.
Thailand did not need too many doses, given the long shipping time. The vaccine might arrive too late for vaccination, the minister said.
The mutation of the virus was an important issue to consider in the government’s vaccine procurement plan. “That’s why Thailand did not plan to buy a huge amount of vaccines but just enough for timely vaccination,” Mr Charnvirakul said.