11 July 2024

The first one million doses of Sinopharm vaccine, procured by the Chulabhorn Royal Academy (CRA), have arrived in Bangkok today (Sunday) from Beijing, China, said CRA Secretary-General Dr. Nithi Mahanonda in his Facebook post this morning.

The vaccine will be sent to the Medical Sciences Department for tests of its efficacy and safety, which will take two days to complete, after which they will be distributed to the hospitals chosen by the CRA to administer the vaccinations, which start this Friday, he added.

Sinopharm is the first alternative vaccine, besides Sinovac and AstraZeneca, to arrive in Thailand. Like Sinovac, which is also produced in China, Sinopharm is an inactivated virus vaccine, already approved by the World Health Organization for emergency use.

To date, more than 65 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in 57 countries to people aged 18 and over. The vaccine is reported to be 79% percent effective in protecting against COVID-19 symptoms and 79% effective against hospitalization. Two doses of the vaccine have to be administered 21 days apart.

Photo by Chulabhorn Royal Academy

The hospitals which will provide the Sinopharm vaccine jabs include those checked by the CRA for readiness, particularly regarding their IT systems, to prevent registration system disruption, and others proposed by private and state agencies, which have booked the vaccine for their staff.

More than 17,000 organizations and companies have pre-ordered the vaccine for about 4.87 million employees. The first batch will be distributed to vaccination sites for 5,199 organizations, covering 476,682 employees.

The Sinopharm vaccine was purchased by the CRA with its own funding, so inoculation is not free. The price per jab is set at 888 baht which includes 30,000 baht medical insurance for anyone who develops negative side effects following vaccination. The insurance policy will pay up to one million baht for anyone who ends up comatose or dies as a direct result of the vaccination.