Thailand to administer 10M vaccine shots monthly from June

BANGKOK (CNA) – Thailand announced plans to inoculate one million of its most vulnerable people against COVID-19 by May and start mass vaccinations in June, with the aim of administering 10 million doses a month.

The announcement was the first clear timeline for its plan to vaccinate about half of its 70 million population, and comes amid criticism over the government’s vaccine procurement strategy.

“We are planning two phases: February to May and the second, June to December,” senior health official Sopon Iamsirithaworn told a briefing.

The first four months will be used to administer two million doses of the Sinovac Biotech vaccine, which are due to arrive this month, earmarked for frontline medical workers in high-risk areas.

Sopon made no mention of the 50,000 imported AstraZeneca vaccines that Thailand has said it would be receiving.

In the second phase, between June and December, authorities plan to administer 10 million doses monthly until December, using 61 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which will be produced locally from June by Siam Bioscience.

“About 1,000 hospitals are being prepared. Each able to do 500 doses per day, which over 20 days comes out to 10 million doses per month,” Sopon said, adding that in the early stages only hospitals with resuscitation areas and equipment would be used.

Healthcare workers get ready to collect samples during proactive testing of migrant workers amid the COVID-19 outbreak in Samut Sakhon province in Thailand. PHOTO: CNA