11 July 2024

The mass vaccination of Thai people will start in June, with five million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to be injected each month until the end of the year, said Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul on Thursday, as he assured that 50 million Thais will definitely be vaccinated and that vaccine procurement is not delayed.

Speaking at a special seminar today, he said that the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is not because people lowered their guard, but is due to those who illegally snuck across the border, carrying the disease with them.

He said that he said that the procurement process for COVID-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca, from now on, will be smooth and will not encounter delays, as happened with the first 50,000 doses, to be delivered from Italy, which was delayed due to sudden export restrictions imposed by the European Union.

In addition to the 200 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which will be produced by Thailand-based Siam Bioscience with technology transfer from the British pharmaceutical firm, Mr. Anutin said the government has procured 61 million more doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and more from other sources, enough for about 50 million Thais.

He pleaded with the public to have faith that government will procure enough vaccine for 50 million free inoculations.

The public health minister maintained that the government has given priority to the efficacy and safety of vaccines, not just price, as he reminded the public that vaccines are not intended to prevent people from getting infected, but to reduce the severity of the disease’s symptoms.

He also reminded everyone that we still have to maintain the new normal way of life, by wearing face masks and observing social distancing, even after receiving the vaccine.