Local AstraZeneca Passes Full Tests Set By Department of Medical Sciences

Dr Supakit Sirilak
Supakit Sirilak, director-general of the Department of Medical Sciences

Samples of AstraZeneca vaccine licensed to be produced locally by Siam Bioscience have passed the standard set by the Department of Medical Sciences (DMS), according to the department.

On Tuesday, DMS director-general Dr Supakit Sirilak said that samples of five models of the vaccine, which had been tested for consistency in production, were presented to the department for approval. The vaccine, which has been registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), was manufactured using AstraZene­ca’s viral vector technology.

After receiving the samples, the department has run tests on them and found they satisfied all manufacturing criteria specified in the registration. The vaccine passed the full tests for requirements such as chemical composition and safety.

The results of the analysis of the vaccine’s quality will be cited in support of having the vaccine mass-produced by Siam Bioscience, according to the DMS chief.

Last Friday, the FDA gave Siam Bioscience the green light to augment its production capacity. The company is expected to deliver the first batch of locally produced vaccines to the government next month, with further supplies earmarked for export.

In a related development, the National Vaccine Institute (NVI) and the Department of Disease Control (DDC) will jointly place an order for the COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Pfizer, said NVI director Nakhon Premsri.

Dr Premsri said Public Health Ministry officials have met with the company and they agreed that the NVI and the DDC will be ordering the vaccine and handling the paperwork to expedite vaccine deliveries.

The Pfizer vaccine is expected to be more suited for school-age segments of the population, which reportedly pose a higher risk of triggering a major outbreak of COVID-19. The vaccine can now be stored at higher temperatures than before, which makes for easier transportation.

The government plans to further accelerate COVID-19 vaccine distribution by asking privately run hospitals to administer jabs for the public, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Tuesday.

In a Facebook post on Monday, Gen Chan-o-cha said the government plans to procure 10-15 million doses a month from several manufacturers and intends to inoculate about 30 million people over the next three months and 50 million by the end of the year.

Gen Chan-o-cha also on Tuesday thanked the business community for their offers in helping ramp up the distribution of vaccines.