Cabinet Approves One Billion Baht Budget for COVID-19 Vaccines

Traisuree Taisaranakul

On Tuesday, the cabinet approved a budget of one billion baht to support the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines.

The money will be used by the National Vaccine Institute and other related agencies to domestically produce vaccines that can tackle the virus as well as prepare for the transfer of technology from overseas.

The Ministry of Public Health reported that the coronavirus is still of great concern in many countries around the world. As of Monday, there were more than 23.44 million confirmed patients and 800,000 deaths. Thailand ranked 119th in the number of confirmed cases.

Of the country’s 3,402 infected patients most of the 3,229 have fully recovered, including seven people discharged from hospital over the past 24 hours, leaving 115 people still recovering in hospital. The death toll has remained at 58 since 2nd June.

Deputy government spokes­woman Traisuree Taisaranakul said although Thailand had achieved great success in controlling the spread of the disease, there was still a chance of a second wave.

Ms Taisaranakul also acknowledged that the country’s economy was expected to be impacted severely by the pandemic. The Bank of Thailand is forecasting GDP to shrink by as much as 12% in the second quarter alone and by 5.3% over the whole year.

“Accelerating the availability of vaccines in the country will have a positive impact on the economy and society, including boosting the confidence of people to return to a normal life,” she said.

Ms Taisaranakul said Thailand was already in the process of collaborating with several countries to develop and transfer vaccine production technology.

“If we could get the vaccine one month earlier than expected, it would help generate approximately 250 billion baht from tourism to the country and also create a positive economic impact,” she said.

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