The Thai Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, today, July 18th, has ordered the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to discuss with FDA-approved vaccine representatives in Thailand regarding the importation of mRNA vaccines to meet the public demand, including the procurement of an additional 50 million doses of Pfizer vaccine.
Initially, the Ministry says they are scheduled to sign a contract with Pfizer manufacturers to purchase the first lot of 20 million doses tomorrow, July 19th, which are expected to arrive around the fourth quarter of 2021, Public Health Ministry spokesperson Opas Karnkawinpong stated. However, an exact “set in stone” date for delivery and arrival while Thailand battles Covid-19 and thousands of daily cases was not given.
According to public health minister Anutin Charnvirakul, Moderna representatives have agreed to join the meeting with the Ministry of Public Health and the FDA. The procurement proposal to Pfizer Thailand would also be introduced in the meeting as well, following the demand for mRNA vaccines in Thailand.
A donation of 1.5 million doses of Pfizer vaccine from the United States, the spokesman added, would arrive in the country on July 29th and would be allocated to medical first responders first. This, however, has been controversial to some US ex-pats in Thailand who believe that they should get priority for these vaccines as well and have continually expressed their anger and opinions both online and to formal letters to the US embassy, although neither has appeared to bring any sort of formal response.
As of now, Thailand has received 17 million doses of vaccine on hand, divided into Sinovac with 9 million doses and AstraZeneca at 8 million doses. About 14 million doses have been injected and the remaining 3 million doses are in the process of national distribution.
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