Thailand Prepares 6 Million Shots For Mass Rollout’s First Month

Thailand aims to administer as many as 6 million shots to protect against Covid-19 this month, as it begins a mass vaccination program amid the nation’s worst coronavirus outbreak since the pandemic began.

The government plans to distribute about 2 million doses of AstraZeneca Plc and Sinovac Biotech Ltd. to vaccination sites across Thailand ahead of the June 7 rollout, according to Sopon Iamsirithawon, a deputy director-general at the Department of Disease Control. As many as 6 million shots will be available in June, with a target capacity of about 500,000 inoculations a day, he said.

The Southeast Asian nation’s economy may not return to pre-pandemic growth levels until early 2023, three fiscal quarters later than previously expected, the Bank of Thailand warned Monday. A surge in coronavirus cases since early April has seen deaths from infections soar more than tenfold and triggered restrictions across the country. The government yesterday approved an additional $4.5 billion of stimulus to counter the economic and social impacts.

“Thailand is currently in the same situation as most countries in the world: many people to vaccinate and limited vaccines with which to do it,” said Daniel Kertesz, the World Health Organization’s representative to Thailand. “The ultimate goal would be to vaccinate everyone who’s eligible, but it’s not possible in the short term so the really important lesson is that prioritizing will be key to success.”

A target of administering 100 million shots to cover about 70% of the population by the end of the year compares with coverage of less than than 3% in the past three months. The distribution of millions of shots each month from June will allow expansion of the inoculation program to prioritize residents of Bangkok, the epicenter of the surge in cases.

ManufacturersGovernment OrdersDelivery
AstraZeneca Plc61 million dosesFrom June; multiple lots
Sinovac Biotech Ltd.10-15 million dosesFrom Feb.; multiple lots
Pfizer Inc.20 million doses (in talks)Before Sept.
Johnson & Johnson5 million doses (in talks)Before Sept.

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