The Thai Red Cross Society has dismissed claims that its Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine order, which is being handled by the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO), has caused several hospitals to cancel scheduled inoculations.
It says its allotment is separate from the quota the GPO had set aside for private hospitals.
The organisation clarified its order status as several private hospitals claimed they had to cancel scores of jab appointments after they realised that they weren’t going to get enough Moderna vaccines from the GPO, which had to fulfil TRCS’s order of one million doses.
As evidence, the TRCS posted copies of its correspondence with representatives of Zuellig Pharma Co, the vaccine’s distributor, on its Facebook page.
In one, dated 18th July, the company said TRCS’s order of one million COVID-19 vaccines will be delivered in the fourth quarter of this year.
However, it said, the company stressed that given state regulations obliging such contracts to be made with state agencies only, it would not be able to enter an import agreement with the TRCS. Its order would have to be handled by the GPO.
That said, according to the letter, the company had clearly notified the GPO that the one million doses that will be shipped to Thailand in the fourth quarter belong to the Red Cross.
As for the order for 5 million doses of Moderna’s second-generation COVID-19 vaccine – which confers greater immunity against newer variants of the novel coronavirus – the company said that deliveries will begin next year.
Zuellig Pharma is processing the required paperwork and reviewing the new import contract, said the letter.
It insisted the new order is an exclusive deal between the company and TRCS, as there is no need to get it done through the GPO anymore.
Reports of cancellations which were prompted by the Red Cross’ order surfaced on Saturday, after a netizen complained on Intrarat Hospital’s Facebook page, claiming the private hospital had cancelled his appointment for a Moderna vaccine, despite having paid for the jabs in full.
The hospital responded to his comment, saying it has had to cancel a number of appointments because it had received a smaller number of doses than expected from the GPO.
A full refund would be given to affected customers. It is not known how many customers are affected.
The hospital said the reduced number of vaccines is the result of a resolution reached by the Private Hospital Association, which caused many private hospitals to get fewer doses than expected.
According to the hospital, the Private Hospital Association had ordered a total of 9.2 million doses from Moderna, but the GPO insisted it could only import 4.9 million doses and has to give 1 million doses to the TRCS first.
Then, it would distribute the other 3.9 million doses to 277 private hospitals which had ordered the vaccine.