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2m Doses Today, 60m in ’22: Thailand Finally Stocking Up on Covid-19 Vaccines

2 million doses of the Pfizer Inc. vaccine arrived at 4:35 a.m. at the DHL Express cargo terminal at Suvarnabhumi International Airport.
2 million doses of the Pfizer Inc. vaccine arrived at 4:35 a.m. at the DHL Express cargo terminal at Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

After months of having virtually no coronavirus vaccines, Thailand will be awash in doses by next year, receiving 2 million vaccines Wednesday and ordering 60 million more for next year.

The Public Health Ministry said Sept. 28 it had signed an agreement with AstraZeneca Plc. to acquire 60 million doses of the company’s Covid-19 vaccine next year to be administered as booster shots.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul and Dr. Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of the Department of Disease Control, attended a ceremony with representatives of AstraZeneca (Thailand) for the signing of the contract.

The company will deliver 15 million doses in the first quarter of next year, 30 million doses in the second quarter and 15 million doses in the third quarter. The vaccines will be made at Siam Bioscience Co. in Pathum Thani, which has been Thailand’s main supplier of this year, providing about 5 million doses a month since June.

Pending the contracted delivery, if AstraZeneca successfully develops the second generation of its Covid-19 vaccine, it must allow Thailand to switch to the new version.

The contracted acquisition costs Thailand about 18 billion baht.

Earlier in the day, Anutin accepted 2 million doses of the Pfizer Inc. vaccine that arrived at 4:35 a.m. at the DHL Express cargo terminal at Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

Anutin said it was the first lot of the 30 million doses that the Thai government ordered from Pfizer. Six million more doses would arrive next month and – he claimed – all the 30 million doses would be completely delivered within this year.

Anutin, however, has proved he can’t read a calendar and is prone to exaggeration. Take his delivery estimates with a grain of salt.

Children aged 12-18 would be a major target group of the vaccine. They amounted to about 5 million and would require 10 million doses, Anutin said.

The remainder would be administered for general people. Inoculation with the Pfizer vaccine would start next week, he said.