11 July 2024

AstraZeneca (AZ) Thailand will deliver another batch of 2.3 million doses of its viral vector vaccine to the Ministry of Public Health this coming week and is trying to secure additional vaccines from the 20 plus supply chains in AstraZeneca’s worldwide manufacturing network for Southeast Asia, including Thailand.

In an open letter, addressed to the Thai people, AstraZeneca Thailand’s managing director, Mr. James Teague, said that he is fully aware of the COVID-19 situation now facing Thailand and assured that vaccine will be made available as fast as possible.

He explained, however, that manufacturing of the vaccine is complicated because it is a biological product that starts with growing living ingredients. “The number of doses in each harvested batch is never completely certain, especially in the early stages of a new supply chain. Even in that context, our projections show that, in months with uninterrupted manufacturing, we can supply five to six million doses in Thailand.”

The Ministry of Public Health, however, is pressing for ten million doses a month, to cope with the surge of the Delta variant. “By the end of July, we will have delivered 11.3 million doses, as part of our overall commitment to deliver 61 million to Thailand. As of now, we have delivered nine million doses, with 2.3 million to be supplied to the Ministry of Public Health next week,” according to the open letter.

Mr. Teague said that AstraZeneca Thailand has been delivering the vaccine in the shortest possible timeframe “however, given the gravity of the Delta variant, we are leaving no stone unturned to accelerate further still.”

“We are also scouring the 20+ supply chains in our worldwide manufacturing network to find additional vaccine for Southeast Asia, including Thailand. A global supply crunch for COVID-19 vaccines and shortages of the materials and components required to produce the vaccine, make it difficult to provide certainty today, but we are hopeful of importing additional doses in the months ahead,” said Mr. Teague.

He maintains that AstraZeneca is duty-bound to help in the wake of the biggest health crisis posed by the pandemic and its staff and partners have devoted their lives over the past year to do so.

“We do this at no profit during the pandemic because we believe that’s the right thing to do. The immediate needs of the pandemic are too large for us to take on alone, but we will not rest until you are vaccinated,” he added.

Mr. Teague praised the solidarity of the Thai people for the way that many donate money, food and supplies to help each other.

He cited new data from Canada, which shows that one dose of AZ vaccine is 87% effective against hospitalization or death caused by the Delta variant. “The vaccines made in Thailand are of crucial importance to our neighbours as much as they are to us here,” he added.