Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul has revealed that Thailand will have at least 90 million COVID-19 vaccine doses next year.
Mr Charnvirakul, who is also deputy prime minister, held a semi-virtual meeting on Friday about how to handle the outbreak situation in the fiscal year 2022 with executive officials from provincial communicable disease committees, provincial governors and other agencies.
After the meeting, Mr Charnvirakul said the COVID-19 situation in the country has improved and Thailand has enough doses for this year.
So far, 86 million doses have been administered, he said, adding the government is still aiming to reach the 100-million milestone this month.
Mr Charnvirakul said Thailand will have at least 90 million doses — 60 million from AstraZeneca and 30 million from Pfizer — next year.
In addition, Thailand will also have the protein-based Novavax vaccine and the locally made vaccines separately being developed by Chulalongkorn University, the Government Pharmaceutical Organization and the Baiya Phytopharm Company, he said.
Those vaccines will be used as booster shots, Mr Charnvirakul said.
On Wednesday, the ministry was informed that France would donate 400,000 Pfizer vaccine doses to Thailand but the date has not yet been confirmed, he said.
“We must understand that the vaccines significantly help mitigate the disease’s severity — together with complying with the universal protection guidelines against COVID-19 to bring back normal life.”
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has expressed concern that over 11 million people have yet to be vaccinated, he said.
The Disease Control Department, provincial public health offices and provincial governors will expedite vaccinations to ensure they are administered next month at the latest, said Mr Charnvirakul.
Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, spokesman for the government, said it has encouraged governors, members of the private sector and related agencies to give incentives to unvaccinated people who go to get jabs.
The vaccination rate in the country has slowed down as some people are waiting for alternative vaccines, he said. The 11 million unvaccinated people account for 17% of the population, he said.
Provincial governors may reward people for getting their shots and the private sector may offer service discounts.
From 28th February to Thursday, a total of 87,859,504 doses were distributed, including 46 million first jabs, 38 million second jabs and 2.9 million third or booster shots.