First batch of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines donated by US arrives in Thailand
The first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine donated by the U.S. government arrived in Thailand this morning (Friday), according to the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok.
The 1.5 million doses, of the 2.5 million pledged by the US, according to Bangkok-born US Senator Tammy Duckworth, is the first delivery of any mRNA vaccines to Thailand, as the country has, to date, had only the imported whole virus vaccines (China’s Sinovac and Sinopharm) and a vector vaccine (Oxford-AstraZeneca), the majority of which is being locally produced by Siam Bioscience.
The donation is “part of President Biden’s promise to help our friends, partners and allies fight this global pandemic. This donation will help Thailand accelerate the country’s vaccination campaign, protect the health of all residents of Thailand and begin the process of economic recovery. The arrival of these vaccines is another testament to our unbreakable friendship. We will get through this together,” reads the US embassy’s Facebook post.
Director-General of the Disease Control Department Dr. Opart Karnkawinpong said that the Pfizer vaccines will be stored at -70oC. Once it has been distributed to vaccination sites, the vaccines will be stored at 2-8oC, at which they can be stored only for 4 weeks.
The allocation of 1.5 million doses of Pfizer vaccine is as follows:
- 700,000 doses are for medical personnel handling COVID-19 patients.
- 645,000 doses are for high-risk groups, such as people aged 60 and over, those with any of the seven underlying diseases and pregnant women living in provinces with severe outbreaks.
- 150,000 doses are for expats, particularly those aged 60 and over and those with any of the underlying diseases and those who will be studying abroad.
- 5,000 doses are reserved for further research, while another 40,000 doses are reserved as a backup.
The Thai government has also ordered 20 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for the public, with deliveries expected in the fourth quarter of this year.