Thailand Kicks Off Covid-19 Vaccine Program With Sinovac Shots
Thailand started rolling out its Covid-19 inoculation program with Sinovac Biotech Ltd.’s vaccine as the Southeast Asian nation tries to revive its pandemic-hit tourism industry.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha on Sunday presided over the kickoff of the program, with a group of healthcare workers receiving the vaccine, state-owned NBT television network showed in a national live broadcast. Prayuth was not inoculated on Sunday as earlier planned because the Sinovac is not recommended for people of his age, Opas Kankawinpong, director general of the Disease Control Department, told a briefing on Saturday.
“Today’s event is to assure the public about the safety of the vaccine that the government will roll out from now on,” said Prayuth. “National vaccination is a major step for the government to go through with this Covid-19 pandemic.”
Southeast Asia’s second-biggest economy aims to inoculate 50% of its population by the end of this year as the government tries to reopen its borders, which have been closed for almost a year to curb the outbreak. The government has also approved AstraZeneca Plc’s vaccine and has ordered 61 million doses.
Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul and four other ministers received the Sinovac shot on Sunday. AstraZeneca’s vaccine arrived in Thailand on Feb. 24 but the company still needs to complete the quality-assurance process, it said in a statement on Saturday.
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