Thailand orders an additional 50 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered the procurement of 50 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from various sources, on top of the 100 million doses procured for this year, to make sure that everyone in the country is inoculated and that there are reserves left over for future use.
Due to the ever changing situation, he said that Thailand’s vaccine acquisition program must not rely on the assumption that herd immunity will be developed if 50 million people in Thailand are inoculated, while pointing out that it remains unclear when or whether herd immunity will actually be developed against a virus which keeps mutating.
The prime minister added that there remain several unanswered questions about the efficacy of vaccines whether two doses are enough to develop immunity.
He said that there is also the risk of delayed deliveries of the vaccines, citing the recent cases of some countries, which had already placed orders for certain amounts of vaccine, actually receiving fewer doses.
The prime minister said he has instructed authorities to be more proactive by negotiating with more vaccine suppliers to procure new vaccines, adding that talks are under way with seven potential suppliers.
Due to the high demand, he said that Thailand must try harder to procure more vaccines, though this may not be easy.
The prime minister also said that, after intensive discussions with medical experts, he has placed increased importance on administering the first dose of vaccine to as many people as possible, because even the first dose will reduce the severity of the COVID-19 symptoms, reduce the chance of getting infected and the risk of death.
He said he has set a target that, by the end of July, half of Thailand’s population will have received their first dose.