BANGKOK (NNT) – Thailand’s National Vaccine Institute (NVI) has apologized for slow COVID-19 vaccine procurement, after attracting widespread criticism over the failure to procure enough vaccines as infection numbers continue to soar, with a record 13,002 new cases reported on 21 July alone.
NVI Director Dr Nakorn Premsri said the NVI held talks with AstraZeneca, between August and September last year, over the procurement of 61 million vaccine doses, after the Public Health Ministry issued a ministerial regulation, under the National Vaccine Security Act, to allow the NVI to place advance orders for vaccines being researched.
He explained that vaccine procurement plans must go before a vaccine procurement committee, comprising experts and agencies involved and, as such, plans cannot be executed by any individual. This is because the matter involves budgetary spending and requires commitments to agreements, which means a vaccine procurement plan cannot be undertaken by any single agency.
Dr Nakorn added that advice must also be sought from the government’s legal advisory agency before an agreement is signed. This has led to the public feeling that the vaccine procurement may not meet the target. It’s all about those impediments and constraints, he said.