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By Linda Khoo Hui Li
BANGKOK, April 17 -- Thailand is in the process of procuring more COVID-19 vaccines as the country deals with a third wave of infections.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs deputy spokesman Natapanu Nopakun said the authorities plan to procure COVID-19 vaccines from the United States and Russia in order to inoculate 50 per cent of its population by the end of this year.
“Thailand’s Foreign Affairs Ministry is in the process of coordinating with the Russian authorities in an attempt to procure Sputnik V,” he said at a COVID-19 briefing here today.
A total of 605,259 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.
Meanwhile, Department of Disease Control (DDC) acting director for emergency health hazards and disease control Dr Chawetsan Namwat said Thailand would begin its mass vaccination in June.
He said the locally produced AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to be available in June, with six million doses set to roll out in June followed by another 10 million doses in July.
Meanwhile, Thai biopharmaceutical manufacturer Siam Bioscience Co Ltd said yesterday that the progress of technology transfer and AstraZeneca vaccine production are on schedule.
In a statement, it said samples from test batches have been sent for quality testing at AstraZeneca’s designated laboratories in Europe and the United States.
“Initial results from the quality testing have met the global standards set by AstraZeneca.
“AstraZeneca will deliver the vaccines to the Thai government as scheduled in June in accordance with the bilateral purchase agreement between AstraZeneca and the Thai government – without any involvement from Siam Bioscience in the government vaccine procurement process,” it said.