Covid-19 vaccines will arrive in Thailand this month: Anutin

The National Communicable Disease Committee has approved the Covid-19 vaccine administration plan to line up vaccination timeframes and procedures against the disease for this year with two prime phases divided, starting this month on

Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul has assured that the first lot of the Covid-19 vaccine will arrive in Thailand within this month and the rest will follow as planned.

Having posted on his FB Page, the Deputy PM urged the public not to discourage medical staff by raising doubts and speculation without substantial knowledge against their efforts.

“Every one involved in this work is not complacent. They work in full course to ensure that Thai people will be safe,” said the Deputy PM.

Mr. Anutin chaired the meeting of the committee yesterday, which had considered the proposal on the Covid-19 vaccine administration plan made by its sub-panel. It approved the plan, which will divide the vaccine administration into two prime phases.

The first phase would be the period under which the vaccines are still limited, from February to April. The target groups of this period would be medical and public health staff on the front line, patients with chronic diseases, senior people aged over 60, and concerned authorities on disease control duty in outbreak areas. The provinces identified are Samut Sakhon, Bangkok, Samut Prakarn, Nonthaburi, Pathumthani, Rayong, Chonburi, Chanthaburi, Trat, and Tak.

The second phase would be between May to December, during which those identified as being at high risk nationwide as well as ordinary people would receive the vaccines.

This is slightly changed from its sub-panel’s plan as it has dropped off the third phase starting next year on and blended the target group of the third phase with those in the second phase.

According to Mr. Anutin, the work would cover 70% of the population in need of the vaccine (pregnant women and children aged under 18 excluded), or 31 out of 50 million people.

63 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccines have been sought out and the first 2 million doses from China’s Sinovac are the most likely prospective shipments from this month on, he said.

Thailand has also procured 26 and 35 million doses respectively from AstraZeneca, which are expected to be delivered through the technology transfer production here from May onwards.

It has also joined the WHO initiated vaccine pooling system, COVAX Facility, but hast not managed to join the cheap or free vaccines offers under the program, known as COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) as being identified as “the middle-income country”.

At first, the vaccines from this part would be accounted for around 20% of the planned Covid-19 vaccine acquirement this year, but concerned officials have explained that acquiring the vaccine under the facility under this condition would cost the country more than a bilateral negotiation.

No updates from the officials so far what they would do next with the program.

The WHO and its alliances, meanwhile, have announced that it has already notified  countries in Africa of the estimated dose allocation for the first phase of COVID-19 vaccine delivery, expected to be started in this first quarter.

Some nearly 90 million COVID-19 vaccine doses now are set to be shipped to the continent in February, according to the organization. (Read: Thailand has yet to commit to WHO’s COVAX Facility to get cheap or free Covid-19 vaccines as it is classified as a “middle-income country”

The latest figure from the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has still shown the rise of the graph of weekly reported infection cases, standing at 5,181 this week (as of today). This is partly because cumulative active finding cases during the past two weeks.

But in Samut Sakhon they are dropping now following intensive case finding by disease control authorities. The public health officials are keeping an eye on locally transmitted case which is still relatively high.

As of today, Thailand has seen 189 new infection cases of Covid-19, 123 of which are locally transmitted, 56 active finding cases, and 10 from quarantine and repatriations. The total cumulative cases stands at 23,746.