The final 500,000 doses of Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine purchased by Thailand arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok today, joining the 2 million doses previously received for Thailand’s immunization program.
These 500,000 doses of Sinovac’s CoronaVac vaccine was transported on Air China’s flight CA603 Beijing-Bangkok, which landed today at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport at 5:35 a.m.
The shipment of vaccine was then handed over to the Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) Director Dr Withoon Danwiboon. The vaccine doses will be stored at DKSH Thailand’s temperature controlled warehouse at 2-8 degrees C., while mandatory quality control inspections are performed by the Department of Medical Sciences.
Once the vaccine is cleared following the inspections, the Department of Disease Control will distribute it to healthcare facilities and vaccination centers, where the vaccine will be given to targeted groups.
Sinovac’s vaccine is currently the main type of COVID-19 vaccine being used in Thailand, besides a small number of AstraZeneca’s produced in South Korea.
Current vaccination guidelines issued by Thai health authorities suggest that the Sinovac vaccine be given to people aged 18-59 years old, while AstraZeneca’s vaccine is for people 60 years or older. Both vaccine types require two doses for full protection.
Sinovac’s CoronaVac vaccine has been approved for emergency use in Thailand and several other countries, however this vaccine type has yet to be formally approved by the World Health Organization, nor has its Phase 3 clinical trial data been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
A small number of Sinovac’s vaccine recipients in Thailand have reported stroke-like symptoms after getting the jabs. Health authorities have quickly described these events as immunization stress-related responses, stressing the vaccine is still safe for use.
The Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha announced yesterday in a televised broadcast that the government has readjusted its vaccination program target, planning now to vaccinate 50 million people using 100 million doses of vaccine by the end of this year.
Most of the vaccine used in Thailand will be the AstraZeneca vaccine produced locally by Siam Bioscience, with the first six million doses scheduled to be delivered in June to kick start the country’s mass vaccination drive.
Meanwhile, the Thai government has recently been in talks with other manufacturers to procure more types of vaccine for the country. The Prime Minister said yesterday the government will be securing 5-10 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, and 5-10 million doses of Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine. The exact amount or the availability timeline of these two vaccine types in Thailand are still unannounced.
In addition to the 2.5 million doses of Sinovac’s vaccine, the Chinese government will be donating 500,000 more doses of the same vaccine type to Thailand, meaning the Sinovac vaccine will account for 3 million doses given in Thailand. (NNT)