Locally produced AstraZeneca vaccine fails to meet Thailand’s delivery targets

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(Xinhua) — Thailand’s Public Health Ministry and local manufacturer of AstraZeneca vaccine have agreed to extend the delivery of 61 million doses from December to May next year, Deputy Public Health Minister Sathit Pitutecha said on Thursday.

Sathit said that the extended delivery date of the locally produced vaccine was required since monthly supply volumes cannot be achieved as previously planned.

The initial delivery plan of the AstraZeneca vaccine by the manufacturer Siam Bioscience was on monthly installment basis, beginning with six million doses in June, followed by 10 million doses each month between July and November and five million doses in December.

Siam Bioscience has current capacity of manufacturing 15 million doses monthly and it has agreed to provide 40 percent of its production to Thailand, Sathit confirmed. He also said the capacity might be increased in near future.

The late delivery of the vaccine will further disrupt the already sluggish vaccination pace in Thailand. The country has planned to inoculate 70 percent of its nearly 70 million population by the end of this year.

However, to date, Thailand has administered only around 13.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, with less than five percent of its population fully vaccinated.

Due to the lagging vaccination progress and the surge in infections fueled by the highly contagious Delta variant, the country was reportedly considering limiting the export of locally produced AstraZeneca vaccine.

Thailand has recorded more than 8,000 daily cases seven days in a row. On Friday, the country reported a daily record of 9,692 new cases and a death toll of 67.

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