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By Linda Khoo Hui Li
BANGKOK, April 19 -- Prime Minister Prayuth Chan o-cha said Thailand plans to procure additional 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine for use in public and private hospitals as the kingdom deals with a fresh wave of infections.
Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said Prayuth, who is also the Defence Minister, has appointed a working group responsible for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines.
“Thailand will acquire no less than 63 million doses of vaccines previously reserved by the government.
“It is expected that at least 35 million people will be given the vaccine by the end of 2021,” he said in a statement.
He added that Prayuth is confident the Thai economy would continue to expand this year following the COVID-19 vaccination drive.
More than 600,000 doses of Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines have been administered in the kingdom, mostly to frontline medical personnel and high-risk groups since the vaccination drive kicked off on Feb 28.
Thailand plans to begin its mass vaccination in June as the AstraZeneca vaccine will be produced locally by Siam Bioscience Co Ltd, with six million doses set to roll out in June, followed by another 10 million doses in July.
Thailand has ordered 61 million doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and another two million doses from Sinovac Biotech.
Meanwhile, Anucha said Prayuth is confident that the latest measures to restrict the super-spreading events would curb the rising rate of infections.
To halt the spread of the viral infection in the kingdom, Thailand has closed educational institutions and nightspots, as well as banning alcohol sales in restaurants for at least two weeks, starting Sunday (April 18).
Besides that, activities involving more than 50 people are prohibited.
Anucha said the government would implement additional economic stimulus measures, taking into account the current situation and budget optimisation.