Thai PM insists COVID-19 vaccines must be proven safe before inoculation starts

FILE / Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha announced on Sunday that Thailand will not start COVID-19 vaccination of Thai people until it is proved to be safe.

In his Facebook post today, the prime minister referred to reports of serious negative side effects suffered by some people who were given the vaccinations, saying that he has to wait for information from the experts about whether the complications were caused by the vaccines or by other factors, such as poor health or the ages of those inoculated, or whether the side effects are, in fact, acceptable.

“For Thai people, I decided not to take the risk and will not rush to inoculate with vaccines which have not been fully tested and will not let Thai people become guinea pigs,” said the prime minister.

He said that the National Vaccine Committee will advise the government and closely supervise the use of COVID-19 vaccines in the country.

web.facebook.com/prayutofficial/posts/1027311291097819

While vaccines are not available, he stressed the importance of everyone taking precautions, by wearing face masks all the time when they leave home, observing social distancing and refraining from gathering together, adding that, for effective containment of the disease, all Thais must download the Thai Chana and Mor Chana apps.

Thailand has placed orders for 60 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines with different sources. The first shipment of 200,000 doses of vaccine from China’s Sinovac Biotech company are scheduled to arrive in February.  Another shipment of 800,000 doses are scheduled for March, followed by another one million doses in April.

The Thai government has also pre-ordered 26 million doses of vaccine from AstraZeneca, to be produced locally by Siam Bio Science, with vaccine technology transfer.

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