With regard to the interest on Thailand’s vaccine procurement plan in foreign media, Mr. Anutin Charnvirakul, Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister, and Dr. Nakorn Premsri, Director of the National Vaccine Institute, have offered some clarification, as follows:
- The Thai authorities attach highest priority to the safety and quality of the vaccines as well as timeliness of procurement. All vaccines must be approved by the Thai Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before administering inoculations to the population.
- Thailand has negotiated with all potential vaccine manufacturers and does not have a policy to rely on any sole candidate. Rather, its policy is to procure safe and quality vaccines from manufacturers who are also able to accept Thailand’s terms of procurement.
- AstraZeneca considered many companies in Thailand and found that Siam Bioscience had the potential to receive a technology transfer for the manufacturing of viral vector vaccines. Another condition set by AstraZeneca was that the partner company must be capable of producing at least 200 million doses per year, and Siam Bioscience also fulfilled this requirement.
- The arrangement with AstraZeneca to provide vaccines to Thailand and the selection of Thailand as a distribution center for its vaccines to countries in Southeast Asia are based on the principle of “no profit, no loss.” It is not a matter of making profits, but of the genuine intent to produce vaccines for wide distribution, in order to strengthen Thailand and the region’s vaccine security.
- The Cabinet approved a budget for the National Vaccine Institute to support research and development of vaccines in Thailand. This budget was allocated to all manufacturers with the potential to develop vaccines in cooperation with the government. Apart from Siam Bioscience, other recipients include Baiya Phytofarm and Chulalongkorn University. In addition, the National Science and Technology Development Agency is currently developing a vaccine with Siam Bioscience, which would ensure that Thailand’s capability covers all stages of the vaccine production cycle.
- As of 1 February 2021, Thailand has ordered 61 million doses of vaccine from AstraZeneca and 2 million doses from Sinovac. The Director of the National Vaccine Institute emphasized that there will be sufficient vaccines and that they will be rolled out with priority given to the most vulnerable groups.
Source: The Government Public Relations Department