Thailand Set for Long Wait to Receive COVID Vaccines

Thailand may have to wait longer than expected to acquire doses of some of Pfizer and Moderna’s US coronavirus vaccines as the first doses are likely to be available to the United States and the first shipments to Japan before the rest of the world.

The US companies Pfizer and Moderna recently announced that their experimental COVID-19 vaccines were approximately 95% effective, and some countries have started to order their vaccine stocks despite challenging shipping conditions.

Dr. Kiat Ruxrungtham, director of the COVID-19 vaccine research and development project at the Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, said both companies are highly likely to be successful in producing the vaccine.

The United States and Japan have already placed their pre-orders, requesting 300 and 120 million doses, respectively.

However, according to Dr. Kiat’s statements, Thailand may have other options, as 11 different pharmaceutical companies are developing vaccines against the virus and could distribute them on a large scale.

Additionally, local researchers are preparing for their vaccines to begin human trials.

Thailand is developing seven potential COVID-19 vaccines, of which two have successfully completed the animal testing stage and will go on to human testing in April of the following year.

However, Dr. Kiat warned that the BioNet-Asia Co jab might be delayed due to a shortage of vaccine precursors, as other large companies have purchased many of them, and insufficient funds.

A specialized team is also testing Cu-Cov19, an mRNA vaccine, on macaques at Chulalongkorn University’s National Primate Research Center in Saraburi and with support from BioNet-Asia.

Dr. Kiat stated that the project had not received sufficient funding from the government, but the state is trying to find new ways to pre-order COVID-19 vaccines from Covax. The latter is a company that works with the World Health Organization and cooperates with AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.

Anutin Charnvirakul, Minister of Public Health, assured that Thailand has a budget of 6 billion baht to purchase vaccines, and this cost would cover operations, tubes, and syringes. Besides, he said that imported vaccines would only come in bottles.

To date, more than 3,900 cases and no deaths have been reported throughout the country.