12 July 2024

50 million more doses of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and an unspecified amount of Moderna vaccine are likely to be purchased by Thailand, to address the continual surge in infections and deaths, according to Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul yesterday (Sunday).

Mr. Anutin has assigned Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration (TFDA) Secretary-General Paisal Dunkhum to arrange meetings with representatives of the manufacturers of the vaccines already approved by the TFDA for procurement, especially the mRNA Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

The vaccine brands approved by the TFDA include Sinovac, Sinopharm, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer. Thailand is currently administering the first three.

The move comes as the supply of locally produced AstraZeneca is expected to be limited and delivery is expected to be slow, with 5-6 million doses expected from Thai firm Siam Bioscience, instead of 10 million doses per month until November as initially planned, as well as a request to extend the deadline of all 61 million doses delivered to the ministry by the end of this year to May next year.

The Thai government is to sign a purchase order of 20 million doses of Pfizer today, with delivery expected in the final quarter of this year, while 5 million doses of Moderna are expected to be procured as an alternative paid option at private hospitals.

Thailand has received almost 8.2 million AstraZeneca doses to date, according to the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), with China’s Sinovac being the main vaccine administered in Thailand since February, with 14.5 million doses delivered so far and millions more to be ordered, to make up for the lack of AstraZeneca and other makes, despite some medical findings indicating Sinovac’s lower efficacy especially against the Delta variant.