800,000 More Sinovac Doses To Arrive – China Urges Thailand To Vaccinate Chinese Expatriates

Anutin Charnvirakul

Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul has announced that another 800,000 doses of Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine will arrive in Thailand on 25th March.

Among those to receive the Sinovac jabs will be cabinet members aged below 60. Those older than 60, including Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, will instead be given the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Mr Charnvirakul said the prime minister had instructed all cabinet ministers to be vaccinated and he expected that they would receive their first jab at hospitals on Friday, after which they would be monitored for 30 minutes for potential side effects.

Four pharmaceutical firms have so far applied for approval to distribute COVID-19 vaccines in Thailand. Two of them – AstraZeneca and Sinovac, have so far been approved and have already shipped vaccines here, said the minister.

The other two are Johnson & Johnson and Bharat Biotech Technology.

Foreign Affairs Minister Don Pramudwinai and Deputy Education Minister Khunying Kalaya Sophonpanich, both aged over 60, have volunteered to be vaccinated.

Deputy Public Health Minister Sathit Pitutecha, who has already been vaccinated with the Sinovac jab, said he did not feel any side effects afterwards. Others who have also received their first jabs reported very mild symptoms.

Gen Chan-o-cha said after the weekly cabinet meeting yesterday that he would receive his AstraZeneca COVID-19 shot on Friday.

The vaccine was currently being tested by the Department of Medical Science, he said.

Regarding COVID-19 vaccines being imported by the private sector, Gen Chan-o-cha said he had instructed the Food and Drug Administration to discuss the procurement of vaccines with private hospitals.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said he was ready to be vaccinated as soon as doctors advised him to do so. Asked if he would receive his first shot at the same time as the premier, Gen Wongsuwon said that decision would be made by doctors.

The Director-General of the Department of Medical Sciences, Supakit Sirilak, said the department had received 23 vials of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine for testing and it would take about three days for the department to test it, in time for the PM’s first jab this week.

Acting Chinese Ambassador Yang Xin yesterday said Thailand and China had discussed the use of vaccine passports between the two countries and urged Thailand to set up a centre to vaccinate Chinese expatriates.