Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will have to wait for the Ministry of Public Health to complete paperwork and quality checks for the batch of AstraZeneca vaccines before he gets his COVID-19 vaccine.
Explaining why the inoculation plan for the prime minister, scheduled for today, was abruptly postponed, Sopon Mekthon, chairman of the subcommittee on the management of COVID-19 vaccines, said yesterday, “We need to defer the plan to give the jab to the prime minister because the Ministry of Public Health still has to complete quality checks for the AstraZeneca vaccine”.
Dr Mekthon said the first jab using another vaccine – CoronaVac developed by China-based Sinovac, would go ahead today as planned.
AstraZeneca (Thailand) yesterday said the state mandatory quality check for its first batch of vaccine would be completed by the second week of March.
“Even though the vaccine is now present in Thailand, it can only be used once AstraZeneca completes all steps in the quality assurance process,” the company said. “Each batch of our vaccine undergoes more than 60 different quality control tests during its journey from manufacture to vaccination”.
“In addition, AstraZeneca works closely with local health authorities to ensure local standards for Thais are met.”
Meanwhile, the country’s first jab, with the Sinovac vaccine, will take place today at 7.30 am at the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute. The Department of Medical Sciences approved the vaccine on Friday.
It is expected that the permanent secretary for public health Kiattiphum Wongrajit will be the first person in the country to receive the vaccine. Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul and his deputy Sathit Pitutecha, as well as executives of the ministry, are also expected to get the jabs.
Front-line workers and high-risk village health volunteers in 13 provinces will get the CoronaVac vaccines which will be administered to people aged 18 to 59.
People aged 60 and over, including the PM, will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine which is also pending approval from the Department of Medical Sciences, Dr Mekthon said.
Dr Mekthon said the public will receive their first Sinovac shots in May.
The ministry yesterday delivered the first consignment of 20,040 doses of the Sinovac vaccine to Samut Sakhon Hospital. People in at-risk groups can register for the vaccine and schedule their shots with the Line account Mor Phrom.
Other people can register in advance with Mor Phrom to receive the vaccine later, he said.