Thailand Needs Sinovac to Meet Vaccine Goal With AstraZeneca Shots Slated for Export
(Bloomberg) -- Thailand won’t be able to meet its monthly vaccination target of 10 million doses as deliveries from AstraZeneca Plc, the backbone of its inoculation program, will be 40% to 50% fewer than expected because some supplies are allotted for export.
AstraZeneca will deliver 5 million to 6 million doses per month for use in Thailand starting in July because a portion of local production by Siam Bioscience Ltd., its manufacturing partner in Southeast Asia, will be shipped to other countries in the region, Nakorn Premsri, director of the National Vaccine Institute, said at a seminar on Friday, citing a letter from the company.
AstraZeneca representatives didn’t immediately respond to a request for comments.
The Thai government’s earlier target of administering 10 million doses per month starting in the third quarter relied solely on AstraZeneca shots. To meet that goal, Thailand will now have to secure vaccines from other manufacturers, including China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd., Nakorn said.
The shortfall came amid Thailand’s raging outbreak that sent fatalities to a single-day record high on Friday, with new cases rising to 6,087, the most since May 17.
Medical facilities are already at their capacity, and if the outbreak doesn’t ease, deaths could double by August, Kumnuan Ungchusak, an expert in epidemiology and an adviser to the Health Ministry, said at the strategy seminar. Senior citizens and people with underlying conditions need to be prioritized, especially as hospitals have already run out of beds for critical care patients, Kumnuan said.
Fewer than 1% of seniors and about 3% people with underlying conditions have been fully inoculated, respectively, compared to nearly 5% among ordinary citizens. In recent weeks, the government has prioritized jabs for workers to prevent losses in the manufacturing, export and tourism sectors, key drivers of the economy.
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