Government Expects To Have 90m COVID-19 Vaccine Doses in 2022

Thailand expects to get at least 90 million Covid-19 vaccine doses next year, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said.

Mr. Anutin, who also serves as deputy prime minister, made the remarks after a semi-virtual meeting on coronavirus outbreaks handling in the fiscal year 2022. It included provincial governors, executive officials from provincial communicable disease committees and other agencies.

Thailand’s Covid-19 situation has improved, he said, adding that the country had administered 86 million shots so far but has enough doses for this year. The government hopes to reach the 100-million objective this month.

According to Mr. Anutin, the 90 million doses Thailand will have in 2022 will include 60 million from AstraZeneca and 30 million from Pfizer.

In addition, Thai health officials will have the protein-based Novavax vaccine and other vaccines manufactured locally by the Government Pharmaceutical Organization, Chulalongkorn University, and Baiya Phytoparmic Company. Such jabs will be used as booster doses, he explained.

Also, on Wednesday, France announced it would donate 400,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to Thailand, but the delivery date has yet to be confirmed.

Mr. Anutin said all Thais should understand that vaccines significantly help mitigate the severity of the disease, adding that jabs and universal protection guidelines against Covid-19 are essential to return to “normal life.”

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had expressed concern that more than 11 million people had not yet been vaccinated. In response, the Department of Disease Control, provincial public health offices and provincial governors will speed up vaccinations, ensuring they are administered no later than next month, Mr. Anutin stated.

Government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana has encouraged governors, private sector members and related agencies to incentivize unvaccinated people to get Covid-19 shots.

He said that some decided to wait for other vaccine alternatives, causing the country’s vaccination rate to slow down. The 11 million people who have not yet received a Covid-19 dose represent 17% of Thailand’s population.

Among some proposals to incentivize people to get vaccinated, provincial governors have been advised to reward those who receive jabs. Also, the private sector can offer discounts on services.

Official figures show that 87,859,504 doses in total were distributed from Feb. 28 to Thursday, including 46 million first doses, 38 million second doses, and 2.9 million booster doses.