Thailand to perform as core for ASEAN bloc’s vaccine security drive

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Deputy Public Health Minister Sathit Pitutecha said the National Vaccine Institute (NVI) has been supporting the idea of elevating Thai vaccines to the global stage since 2014 while the government has also labeled the National Vaccine Institute as a national security agenda until 2019.

Vaccine security is not a topic limited to decision-makers in Thailand. The country is now aspiring to perform as the core of the ASEAN bloc’s vaccine security drive. Thai health authorities announced yields from relevant meetings and opportunities for further cooperation over vaccines in ASEAN.

Deputy Public Health Minister Sathit Pitutecha said the National Vaccine Institute (NVI) has been supporting the idea of elevating Thai vaccines to the global stage since 2014. The government has also labeled the National Vaccine Institute as a national security agenda until 2019. As the 35th chair of ASEAN, Thailand reiterated the importance of vaccines to all member countries.



The declaration on ASEAN Vaccine Security and Self-Reliance (AVSSR) was made prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, academic and budgetary support from China enabled an ASEAN Plus One meeting on national vaccine policies. Mr. Sathit said this success was attributed to Thailand’s leadership and China’s role as an important partner. The meeting facilitated information exchange and unity among ASEAN+1 countries.



NVI director Nakorn Premsri cautioned that although the COVID-19 situation has de-escalated, other emerging diseases may arise in the future. Preparations are therefore needed and cooperation with other countries is necessary. Said cooperation has existed continually since the ASEAN declaration in 2019. When the Covid pandemic occurred, discussions and meetings were had and the result was a 5-year operations plan.



Dr. Nakorn said procurement of 2nd generation vaccines is in the information follow-up phase. He said existing vaccines are still usable and 2nd generation vaccines have only been released. He explained that consideration is needed over whether strain-specific vaccines are appropriate, as there is the question of whether these will work if the virus mutates again. He noted there are enough vaccine doses to last until next year. He added that booster shots are very important and can prevent severe symptoms without the need for people to wait for new-generation vaccines. He asserted members of the ‘608 Group’ who are at heightened risk of severe Covid symptoms should get at least 4 shots of vaccine. (NNT)