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Doctors Group Urges Thailand to Block AstraZeneca Exports, Deny Vaccines to Asian Neighbors

Siam BioScience in Pathum Thani, wholly owned by the Crown Property Bureau, will locally manufacture the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.
Siam BioScience in Pathum Thani, wholly owned by the Crown Property Bureau, will locally manufacture the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.

The Rural Doctors Society is campaigning for Thailand to break its international obligations and hoard Covid-19 vaccines intended for export to other Asian countries.

The group urged people to sign a petition to demand the government limit the number of AstraZeneca vaccine doses exported from local manufacturer Siam Bioscience, sacrificing lives in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan to save Thais.

The man behind the selfish, nationalist and inhuman appeal is Prasert Auewarakul, deputy dean for research at the Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital.

The campaign follows a July 14 resolution by the National Vaccine Committee to exercise the National Vaccine Security Act to temporarily regulate vaccine exports, but the resolution had not been implemented yet.

Prasert admitted that with the vaccine export limitation, other countries in the same region would be affected because they would receive smaller amounts of AstraZeneca vaccine doses. But the impact would not be large because those countries did not depend mainly on AstraZeneca as Thailand does, he claimed.

The British-Swedish AstraZeneca Plc. only gave Siam Bioscience a license and technology to produce Covishield only on condition that at least half the doses produced would go for export.

The European Union threatened a similar export ban from AstraZeneca’s Italy factory in 2020 but the copany and EU reached a settlement.

Any hoarding of crucial vaccines would create a major international incident for Thailand and destroy confidence among current and future foreign investors.