The Thai Red Cross Society reached a deal with the local importer of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine to procure 5 million doses of a “second-generation” coronavirus drug next year.
Red Cross Secretary-General Tej Bunnag said the deal will help the foundation buy more effective vaccines directly and will provide more flexibility in its efforts to improve public access to the Covid-19 vaccine.
Currently, there is no second-generation vaccine from Moderna. The deal for 5 million of those future doses is separate from the Red Cross current import order of 1 million doses through the Government Pharmaceutical Organization.
He also provided an update on a plan to distribute the vaccine to subdistrict governments that requested doses for disabled people, bedridden patients and pregnant women.
Tej said the Red Cross is now capable of sourcing the vaccine for, at most, 500,000 people even though there are about 11 million underprivileged people who need help with vaccinations.
The Red Cross also debunked online conspiracy theories that its current Moderna order through the GPO has caused several hospitals to cancel scheduled inoculations. The society said says its allotment is separate from the quota the GPO has set aside for private hospitals.
Moderna importer Zuellig Phama Co. wrote in a letter posted to the Red Cross Facebook page that the current order had to go through the GPO, but that company had clearly notified the government office that the 1 million doses to be shipped to Thailand in the fourth quarter belonged only to the Red Cross.
The GPO’s order of 5 million Moderna doses for private hospitals will be delivered in two shipments: 3.8 million in the fourth quarter and the remaining 1.2 million next year.
The online chatter and accusations began after one keyboard warrior posted that his vaccination appointment at Intrarat Hospital despite having aleady paid in full.
The hospital responded to his comment, saying it has had to cancel a number of appointments because it had received a smaller number of doses than expected from the GPO.
Intrarat said refunds would be given to all those whose appointments were canceled. It blamed the Private Hospital Association for delivering Intrarat fewer doses than it requested.
Hospital officials tried to save face by falsely claiming the Private Hospital Association said it had to give 1 million of the 5 million doses it ordered to the Red Cross. The society proved that was a lie.
The National News Bureau of Thailand contributed this report.