As Thailand’s vaccine supply runs short due to production delays, the Japanese government has offered to donate doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, according to Thailand’s health minister Anutin Charnvirakul. An agreement is set to be signed this week and vaccine doses would be delivered next month. Anutin only gave a brief statement and did not say how many doses Japan is donating.
Thailand launched its mass vaccination campaign this month with AstraZeneca vaccines produced locally by Siam Bioscience, which is wholly owned by a subsidiary of the Crown Property Bureau. Siam Bioscience is set to be the Southeast Asian distribution hub for the AstraZeneca vaccine and supply 200 million doses. Taiwan, Malaysia and the Philippines have all reported that they are expecting delays in their deliveries.
The Thai government has been criticised for heavily relying on the locally-made AstraZeneca vaccine. With Covid-19 cases spreading over the past 3 months in the most severe wave of the virus, infecting 192,443 people since April 1, the Thai government acquired additional doses of the Sinovac vaccine. The outbreak also comes as Thailand prepares to reopen the popular island destination Phuket on July 1, with other areas to follow.
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