Thailand to limit locally-manufactured AstraZeneca vaccine exports


(Xinhua) — Thailand plans to set a limit on its exports of locally-manufactured AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines to meet domestic demand as the country is struggling to contain a months-long surge in infections, a senior official said Wednesday.

The Disease Control Department and the National Vaccine Institute (NVI) have agreed to impose a quota on the exports of AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured in Thailand by Siam Bioscience Co., NVI director Nakorn Premsri said at a press conference.

The decision will be forwarded to the National Vaccine Committee for approval, Nakorn said, without elaborating on the detail of the export quota.

Nakorn said Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, who chairs the National Vaccine Committee, might probably issue a mandate to enforce the export quota.

The authority will negotiate with Siam Bioscience Co. and recommend that the manufacturer supply the vaccine to Thailand with respect to the country’s current pandemic situation, Nakorn said.

On Wednesday, Thailand reported 9,317 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total number of infections in the country to 363,029. The daily tally has stayed above 5,000 so far this month, compared with less than 100 at the beginning of April when the third wave of outbreak began. Cumulative deaths rose by 87 to 2,934.

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said last month that its Thai partner Siam Bioscience will produce approximately 180 million doses of vaccines this year, with about one third for Thailand and the remaining two-thirds to the other parts of Southeast Asia.