The cabinet yesterday approved a budget of six billion baht for the Public Health Ministry to acquire 26 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca, a UK-based lab.
Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said the budget would come from its emergency funds reserved for the purchase of the vaccine which is currently being tested by the British biopharmaceutical laboratory.
Aside from Pfizer and Moderna, AstraZenaca is among the few companies to have reportedly achieved highly effective results from their Covid-19 vaccine tests.
The budget will be allocated into two departments:
- 2.379 billion baht for the National Vaccine Institute for vaccine development
- 3.59 billion baht to the Disease Control Department for the purchase and management of the vaccine.
The spokesman said the government would acquire the vaccine from AstraZeneca since the Public Health Ministry had an agreement with the company and had granted permission to produce the vaccine in collaboration with Siam Bioscience.
The National Vaccine Institute was instructed by the ministry to reserve the Covid-19 vaccine for at least 13 million people (20% of the population).
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said that the made-to order reservation ensured that Thailand would have access to the vaccine as soon as it received safety approval in the UK.
“We got the best price at US $5 (about 150 baht) per dose. If we had waited for the vaccine to be 100% complete, the price would’ve gone up to $20 a shot. The company says the efficacy is more than 90%, making us confident of its success,” Mr Anutin added.
Original writers: Aprinya Wipattayotin and Chatrudee Theparat
Source: Bangkok Post