Thailand set to boost COVID-19 vaccinations

BANGKOK (CNA) – Thailand expects to offer the Moderna vaccine to most of its population as soon as it steps up the roll-out of its COVID-19 vaccination campaign, a health official said yesterday.

The latest drive comes amid growing public criticism of the slow roll-out of free vaccinations offered by the government, which stands at 1.73 million shots so far – less than one per cent of its population.

Health authorities have yet to start mass vaccinations even as the tourism-reliant country struggles with a third wave of infections.

The government expects 61 million shots of AstraZeneca to be produced locally from June. But these vaccinations and those from Moderna will not be offered free.

Moderna last month applied for vaccine registration in Thailand, which should be approved soon, said Withoon Danwiboon, head of the Government Pharmaceutical Organization.

“What we expect from Moderna is its commitment on how soon they will bring in their vaccine,” he said.

India’s Bharat Biotech has started the application process for vaccine registration while China’s Sinopharm has yet to apply, he said.

Thailand has so far approved the vaccines of Sinovac Biotech, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

A health worker administers a dose of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine to residents of the Klong Toey area in Bangkok. PHOTO: AP