The Thai Red Cross Society announced that it would import 1 million Covid-19 vaccine doses manufactured by the US firm Moderna that it would offer for free to the public.
A Red Cross executive made the announcement before a House panel.
It was agreed that the Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) would handle the imports on its behalf, said Jirayu Huangsap and Teerat Samretvanich, Bangkok MPs of the opposition Pheu Thai Party.
Amid discussions over Public Health Ministry’s 2022 budget bill and agreements with vaccines suppliers, the House panel was denied a request for details due to non-disclosure clauses.
Mr. Jirayu said: “We are not comfortable recommending approving the budget so we asked the Thai Red Cross Society whether it’s possible for it to import some vaccines.”
Thai Red Cross Secretary General Tej Bunnag told the committee that his office had concluded talks to procure one million Moderna’s jabs, Mr. Jirayu added.
However, the secretary-general could not give information on how soon the shots would arrive, claiming it’s up to the GPO.
The Moderna vaccines batch is expected to arrive with the 5 million doses the GPO plans to import on behalf of private hospitals late this year or in the first quarter of 2022.
On Wednesday, the GPO said it would sign the supply agreement with Moderna’s Thai representative on July 23 to order vaccines for 285 private hospitals.
The GPO also stated it would sign contracts with the hospitals and accept their payments until July 21 but did not mention the batch to be purchased for the Red Cross.
Thailand’s Red Cross, led by His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Queen, is one of the state health agencies authorized to import vaccines.
Last year, the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) said that only the Disease Control Department, the National Vaccine Institute, the GPO, the Chulabhorn Royal Academy, or state agencies were allowed to purchase or collaborate to buy jabs.
Companies cannot order vaccines unless they team up with such agencies.
According to Budget Bureau documents, the Red Cross got an 8.9-billion-baht budget in fiscal 2021 ending on September 30 this year.