Yesterday, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said Thailand is planning to order a large shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine as his government attempts to counter allegations that they have been sleepwalking amid a potentially destructive third wave.
Prayuth told reporters that the National Vaccine Institute is in talks with Pfizer on pricing and other terms to provide between 5 million and 10 million doses.
“We are still waiting for a quote and terms and conditions,” said the former general told reportersHe added that he expects deliveries to begin in July and complete by December.
Thailand is currently holding third and most serious wave of COVID-19, with the first daily new incidence exceeding 1,000 in recent days. On Tuesday, the Ministry of Health announced 1,443 new cases and 4 deaths, bringing the total to 45,185 cases and 108 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.
The flare, involving night spots in and around Bangkok, has also seen the more contagious B.1.1.7 variant first identified in the UK.
Thailand appears to maintain the curious inverse relationship seen in many countries between the success of COVID-19 containment efforts and the speed and efficiency of vaccine deployment.
Despite recording only 7,000 cases and 63 deaths in the 2020 pandemic year, Prayut’s government has been widely criticized for making delayed and inadequate efforts to secure supplies. Vaccine. So far, these including delivery about 2 million doses of Chinese AstraZeneca and Sinovac vaccines.
The Thai government initially hoped to govern 61 million stabs throughout the year 2021 – and nearly 30 million doses before August – but as of April 19, just 0.82 percent Of the country’s 69 million people who have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the website Our World in Data run by the University of Oxford.
In December, local company Siam Bioscience reached an agreement to share the technology with AstraZeneca for the production of the coronavirus vaccine in Thailand, but the deal was criticized for its lack of transparency and company reluctant to communicate with the media.
In February, the famous opposition politician Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit was charged with defamation of the royal family to question the settlement, as Siam Bioscience was owned by King Vajiralongkorn of Thailand, whose wealth and power became the target of a fiery protest movement.
On April 16, Siam Bioscience issue a statement states that production is on schedule and after the vaccine is shipped to AstraZeneca for testing, “AstraZeneca will deliver the vaccine to the Thai government as scheduled in June”. The company has previously stated that they are capable of execution up to 18 million doses every month.
Until then, the increase in cases of COVID-19 was on top of awe the number of beds available, according to Thailand’s policy of hospital admission for all people who test positive for COVID-19, including those without symptoms. For this reason, some hospitals are increasingly reluctant to offer tests for COVID-19, while authorities have set up new field hospitals to prevent further infections.
At the weekend, Prayut announced one New restriction set is designed to stop the third wave, to close schools, pubs, clubs, karaoke bars and massage parlors, and limit events to 50 people. However, it doesn’t stop at imposing a strict lock or gender order, concerned about potential economic impacts.
However, economic pain to a certain extent seems inevitable. Like me note last week, a protracted vaccine roll that risks undermining the government’s plan of economic recovery for months, if not years. As it stands, the new Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine order is an acknowledgment by the Prayut government that their frozen vaccine procurement program threatens not only to stifle Thailand’s recovery, but also undermine weakens the country’s popularity.