11 July 2024

Thailand’s Chulabhorn Royal Academy (CRA), one of the five agencies in the country authorised to procure COVID-19 vaccines and currently the sole procurer of China’s Sinopharm product, is planning to purchase 8 million doses of the US-made Moderna vaccine as booster shots for the year 2022.

The CRA announced a formal cooperation with ZP Therapeutics, a subsidiary of Zuellig Pharma, a pharmaceutical company importing Moderna vaccines into Thailand, today (Tuesday), and said that 8 million 100-microgram doses will be imported for next year, with staged delivery from the first to the third quarters.

Moderna will be the second alternative to the Thai government’s vaccination campaign. The first and currently only paid alternative vaccine is Chinese made Sinopharm.

2 million doses of Moderna are also being procured through the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO) by the Thai Red Cross Society for free inoculation of certain target groups, while 5 million more doses are being procured by private hospitals, also through the GPO, for commercial inoculations in the fourth quarter of 2021 and first quarter of 2022.

According to CRA Secretary-General Dr. Nithi Mahanonda, the vaccine had up to 94.1% efficacy in the third phase of clinical trials and that the incidence of side effects is “acceptable”, with 2.5 patients experiencing severe side effects per 1 million doses.

He also said having Moderna vaccine as a 50-microgram booster dose can boost antibody levels against the Beta, Gamma and Delta variants of the COVID-19 virus by 32, 43.6 and 42.3 times, respectively.

A study on Moderna boosters will be conducted in Thailand from late this year.

Thailand currently has four state provided COVID-19 vaccines – AstraZeneca, Sinovac, Sinopharm, and Pfizer.