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  • National Vaccine Supply

    Japan to donate 300,000 more AstraZeneca vaccines next week

    The Japanese embassy in Bangkok made an announcement today that their government will again donate AstraZeneca vaccines to Thailand. Japan donated 1.05 million AstraZeneca vaccines to Thailand at the beginning of July and have declared that another shipment of 300,000 vaccines will be forthcoming. The second shipment of AstraZeneca vaccines from Japan is slated to arrive on September 8, this coming Wednesday. The Japanese shipment will have 775 oxygen concentrators to aid in the care of patients with severe Covid-19 infections as well as equipment for the cold chain system that is essential to keep vaccines at a low temperature during storage, transportation, and distribution of vaccines.

    In addition to helping Thailand, Japan has allocated some vaccines to other Southeast Asian countries. The government is donating a total of 440,000 vaccines to countries in the area, with 300,000 of those going to Thailand. Taiwan and Vietnam will split the remaining 140,000 vaccines to help with their Covid-19 outbreaks, though the exact number for each country was not specified. The embassy made the announcement alongside a factsheet explaining that, long before these vaccines, Japan and Thailand have been working together over the past decade to assist each other during times of crisis including Thailand’s 2011 floods and the Great East Japan Earthquake. The Covid-19 aid is a continuation of these friendly relations.The release someone confusingly refers to it as “Four pillars of Japan’s cooperation”, though the introductory text mentions 3 and the subsequent list includes 5. These are:1.35 million AstraZeneca vaccines donated in total.
    • 1.35 million AstraZeneca vaccines donated in total.
    • 775 oxygen concentrators valued at US $1.8 million.
    • Cooperation in developing drug treatments, testing capability, and virus surveillance with a US $5.5 million budget. This includes accelerating infections disease diagnosis through the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute, researching Covid-19 antibodies with the Faculty of Tropical Medicine at Mahidol University, and working with the National Institute for Health to improve quality control on vaccines, monitoring mutations, and analysing pathogens.
    • Allocating US $12.25 million for UN agency cooperations. $750,000 will be a partnership with Japan and UNICEF for equipment to refrigerate vaccines. $11.5 million is for a renovation of the National Laboratory at the National Institute for Health, a scientific command centre for Covid-19 research and development.
    • US $50 million to create the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases

  • #2
    AstraZeneca-Pfizer mixed vaccination to debut in October

    In the battle to get access to high-quality vaccines in Thailand, October is set to see an upgrade with the initiation of administering a mix of AstraZeneca and Pfizer doses for patients. The deputy director-general of the Disease Control Department said today Thailand will receive about 10 million Pfizer vaccines arriving each month beginning in October.

    The government now plans to supplement the first dose of domestically-produced AstraZeneca with a second dose of the Pfizer mRNA vaccine 1 to 3 months later. While mixing vaccine brands is still controversial with less data on efficacy and safety, many agree that the AstraZeneca-Pfizer combination is a step up from the current mixture of Sinovac and AstraZeneca commonly in use in Thailand today.

    Mixing vaccines received a recommendation from the Medical and Health Emergency Operations Centre on August 25 saying that the decision was based on research in Thailand and abroad with new data indicated that mixing vaccines is safe and effective. The plan is to administer one of the two vaccine mix and match combinations, either Sinovac and AstraZeneca or AstraZeneca and Pfizer, to eligible recipients over the age of 18.

    The Disease Control Department also said that either Pfizer or AstraZeneca will be used as a booster shot given to patients who are unvaccinated and fell ill with Covid-19 within 1 to 3 months from the booster shot date. The booster will be given to Covid-19 patients that have not already been vaccinated or who were infected with Covid-19 within two weeks of being vaccinated before the vaccine would become effective.

    Health authorities fear that with the emergence of the Delta variant the goal of achieving herd immunity by reaching a 70% vaccination rate in Thailand before the end of 2021 may not be attainable anymore.

    Vaccine procurement seems to finally be accelerating though, as the Thai government expect to see 8 to 10 million Pfizer vaccine each month between October and December and 6 million Sinovac vaccines by the end of the year. They also predict 7 to 8 million AstraZeneca vaccines in September, 10 million more in October, and 13 million vaccines in November and again in December. If the prediction is realized, it would result in 60 to 67 million vaccines arriving in Thailand by the end of 2021.


    • #3
      Booster for those with 2 Sinovac vaccines coming by October 2021

      Those already vaccinated in Thailand may be getting a shot in the arm by next month or even sooner, as Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul declared that booster shot administering will begin imminently for those who received 2 Sinovac vaccines already. He stressed that the actual timing will be up to the Disease Control Department but predicted it will be within the next few weeks.

      As the Chinese-made vaccines have been seen to be fairly ineffective against the Delta variant that is now the majority strain of Covid-19 in Thailand, millions of people have been waiting to get an AstraZeneca booster shot. Half a million medics and first responders in Thailand have already received a third booster shot and 2 million more are scheduled to receive it soon.

      Thailand has recently revised its vaccination plan to make a mix and match set of Sinovac followed by AstraZeneca the main vaccine option in Thailand. Plans have also been in the works to provide newer vaccine recipients with the first dose of AstraZeneca followed by a Pfizer dose which they plan on receiving and implementing next month.

      Thailand is scheduled to receive 10 million Pfizer vaccines per month starting next month and the brand has already been registered with Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration for use on children. The manufacturers of Sinopharm have requested to use their vaccines for young children aged 3 and older but have not received approval yet.

      Anutin also reiterated the guarantee that 120 million vaccines of various brands will have been received by Thailand by the end of the year, a figure they say is enough to meet Thailand entire domestic needs.

      The Public Health Minister joined other senior health officials in an inspection of a new Bangkok field hospital built to treat severe red cases of up to 120 patients without having to rely on transferring them to main hospitals. The facility is scheduled to open tomorrow and be an alternative to hospital treatment for Covid-19 patients in the area. It is fully equipped, including ICU facilities.


      • #4
        Germany’s Donation of COVID-19 Medication Arrives in Thailand

        The German Embassy in Bangkok has announced that the shipment of COVID-19 medication, donated by Germany, worth 153 Million THB and including the casirivimab/imdevimab antiviral cocktail, arrived in Thailand on Monday. The embassy said 2,000 doses of the cocktail will be used on COVID-19 patients in a severe condition. The drugs have been registered by the Thai Food and Drug Administration (TFDA) and will be distributed to specific hospitals. Casirivimab/imdevimab is an artificial antibody cocktail designed to trigger resistance to the COVID-19 virus.

        Meanwhile, Thailand’s Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul has confirmed that the first batch of 2 million doses of vaccine, of a total of 30 million, will arrive in Thailand on September 29th and will be administered to children aged 12 and over so that schools can reopen.

        He added that, by the end of 2021, there will be adequate supplies to administer 900,000 Pfizer shots per day to the wider population. From October, Pfizer will be given as a booster shot to people who have had two doses of Sinovac, while those have had 2 doses of AstraZeneca will be given the Pfizer booster in 2022.


        • #5
          Thai FDA approves Moderna vaccine for ages 12 to 17

          The Moderna vaccine has just won approval from the Thailand Food and Drug Administration to be given to teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 years old. ZP Therapeutics, a division of Zuellig Pharma, distributor of the Moderna vaccine, made the announcement yesterday. In a statement, the company expressed gratitude to the Food and Drug Administration for approving the use of their vaccine in the younger population.

          They observed that this approval gives Thailand a better chance to administer more vaccines to a wider range of people and will be helpful in fighting off Covid-19 and the pandemic that has swept Thailand in recent months, especially with more contagious and easily transmissible variants now in play.

          “The approval of Covid-19 vaccine Moderna for use in adolescents expands the vaccine arsenal that Thailand has to combat the pandemic. We are grateful that the FDA has authorised the use of the Moderna vaccine for adolescents so that they can be offered protection against the coronavirus, especially in light of the highly contagious Delta variant.”

          ZP Therapeutics says that the vaccination method for those between the ages of 12 and 17 is exactly the same as for adults. The regimen involves receiving one dose following 28 days later by a second injection to be fully inoculated.

          Moderna will be seeing an influx of usage in Thailand in the coming months after a recent study showed that 6 months after full vaccinations its effectiveness dropped just 1%. The Red Cross recently got budget approval for nearly a billion baht to purchase 1 million Moderna vaccines, while Chulabhorn Royal Academy, which had been using the Sinopharm vaccine, announced its intentions to buy 8 million Moderna vaccines to use as booster shots.


          • #6
            300,000 more AstraZeneca vaccines donated from Japan arrived

            In a well-timed shipment, 300,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines have arrived in Bangkok today, a donation from Japan. Today is the anniversary of a milestone for Thailand and Japan, as September 26 is the anniversary of the original establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Today marks the 134th anniversary of the relationship between Japan and Thailand, a perfect opportunity for a generous donation from Japan of the AstraZeneca vaccines.

            This is the third donation the Japanese government has made to help Thailand in its battle against the Covid-19 pandemic. In July, Japanese officials made a massive donation of 1.05 million AstraZeneca vaccines that they had requested be used to inoculate elderly people that are at high risk in Bangkok. At the beginning of this month, Japan made a second donation of 300,000 vaccines on September 8, along with 775 oxygen concentrators needed to care for severe Covid-19 infections. They also donated equipment to help the cold chain system that keeps vaccines at very low temperatures during storage, transportation, and distribution.

            Their donation of another 300,000 vaccines that arrived today brings the total to 1.65 million AstraZeneca vaccines that the Japanese government has donated to help Thailand inoculate its citizens to protect from Covid-19 over the past few months. Today’s donation is part of a string of vaccine donations from Japan to other Southeast Asian countries with 500,000 doses to Taiwan, 400,000 doses for Vietnam, 300,000 for Thailand, and 100,00 doses for Brunei. In total, Japan has donated over 23 million vaccines of locally produced AstraZeneca.

            The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Thailand expressed thanks to its partners on its Twitter account.


            • #7
              US calls meeting with Thai officials to resolve donated vaccines

              The saga continues for the additional 1 million Pfizer vaccines that the US donated to Thailand that has been lost in bureaucratic red tape. The United States has now said they will organize a meeting with Thai authorities to discuss the delivery of the donated vaccines. Previously, Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul denied claims that he had dropped the ball on receiving the vaccines and claimed the US never gave notice through proper channels. Then US Senator Tammy Duckworth was quoted as saying she told Thai authorities a month ago they need to complete the paperwork to receive the vaccines.

              Now the Thai ambassador to the United States confirmed that US authorities contacted the Thai embassy in the US to arrange a meeting between the 2 countries next week to discuss the donation process. The same group had helped arrange the original 1.5 million Pfizer vaccines the United States donated nearly two months ago. A spokesperson for the US embassy in Thailand meanwhile highlighted the complexity of the transfer. She said a number of mandatory legal and regulatory agreements must be hashed out between the giving and receiving country as well as the pharmaceutical companies involved before the vaccine delivery can proceed.

              Furthermore, the pharmaceutical and medical companies involved need legal agreements and proper status with the Thai government to gain regulatory approval to handle the vaccine donation. The embassy spokesperson said that the same process was hammered out before the previous 1.5 million doses were donated, begging the question of why there was so much bureaucratic fumbling to repeat the same process a second time. “Next week, we hope to have a bilateral call to work through the legal, logistical, and regulatory items needed to move the doses. We look forward to welcoming the second shipment of vaccines to Thailand as soon as possible.”


              • #8
                Delivery of Moderna Covid-19 vaccine pushed back to November

                A day after the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation said the first doses of the Moderna vaccine would arrive this month – earlier than planned – it turns out they won’t. According to a Bangkok Post report, Zuellig Pharma, authorised distributor of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine says delivery of the first batch has had to be postponed to November, as originally planned.

                The GPO has government approval to procure alternative vaccines for distribution to private hospitals, with the agency signing the Moderna contract in July of this year. The distributor says it had been preparing for an early October delivery but changes were made to the delivery schedule that were beyond its control. A spokesperson says the full consignment, consisting of 1.9 million doses, will be delivered in weekly shipments, with between 100,000 and 300,000 arriving each week. A further 6.8 million doses of Moderna will be delivered in the first quarter of 2022, but exact dates cannot be confirmed until the doses have passed quality checks.

                “We will be informed of the delivery dates by the manufacturer 2 weeks before the delivery is made.”
                According to the Bangkok Post report, the distributor says it’s working closely with Moderna to get doses delivered as quickly as possible, adding that a possible solution could be getting a new source. Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration has approved the Moderna vaccine produced by ROVI Pharma Industrial Services in Spain, making it the fourth Covid-19 vaccine given FDA approval, after AstraZeneca, Sinovac, and the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine.


                • #9
                  Thailand to order new anti-viral “magic” pill for Covid-19 treatment

                  Thailand is joining the queue to get its hands on a new Covid-19 treatment from pharmaceutical giant, Merck. The new treatment, in pill form, has not yet been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration or by Thailand’s equivalent. However, after falling behind other countries in vaccine procurement, officials now seem anxious to get in there quickly, with reports that Thailand plans to purchase 200,000 courses of the new treatment. Media reports say the US government plans to procure 1.7 million treatment courses, at a cost of US$700 each.

                  Interim trials show that the new drug could reduce the chance of death or hospitalisation with Covid-19 by 50% in those most at risk of severe symptoms. It’s understood that Merck and its partner, Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, plan to apply for FDA emergency use approval as soon as possible. If granted, the pill would become the world’s first oral anti-viral drug for the treatment of Covid-19. Molnupiravir works by creating errors in the genetic code of the virus, thereby reducing viral load in Covid-19 patients and lessening their chances of developing severe symptoms.

                  Following reports that drugs in the same class have been linked to birth defects in animals, the manufacturer says that similar studies of Molnupiravir, which was given in higher doses and for longer, show that it has no effect on mammalian DNA. Phase 3 trials have shown the treatment to work against all mutations, including the highly-contagious Delta variant, which has been behind most of the recent deaths and hospitalisations around the world.
                  On the stock exchange, shares in Merck rallied following the news, while shares in Atea Pharmaceuticals, developers of a similar treatment, rose by over 21%. Meanwhile, shares in some vaccine manufacturers fell. It’s understood that both Pfizer and the Swiss healthcare and pharmaceutical giant, Roche, are also working on an anti-viral pill treatment for Covid-19.

                  To date, the virus has killed nearly 4.9 million people around the world, with 700,000 of them in the US. In Thailand, 3, 243 are in serious or critical condition, with 701 on ventilators.


                  • #10
                    Vaccine donation from Iceland and Germany confirmed

                    Both Iceland and Germany have each agreed to a donation Covid-19 vaccines to Thailand and the Thai Cabinet has now endorsed receiving the vaccine shipments. A government spokesperson expressed gratitude for the two donations totalling 446,100 vaccine from the two European nations.

                    The spokesman said that the vaccines represented the good relations Thailand have with the countries of Europe as well as steps forward in Thailand progress in negotiating and obtaining more Covid-19 vaccines as the country has recently stepped up its procurement of several different vaccine brands and various resources, including a stalled shipment of 1 million Pfizer vaccines from the United States said to be waiting on Thailand completing the proper paperwork through the correct channels.

                    Iceland has offered 100,000 Pfizer vaccines to Thailand as a donation to provide support to the nation’s Covid-19 efforts, according to the Thai government’s spokesperson.

                    346,100 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines are on offer by the Federal Republic of Germany in addition to the Icelandic donation. The German vaccine donation is intended to augment the efficacy of the distribution of vaccines throughout Thailand.

                    Both the donation of 100,000 Pfizer vaccines from Iceland and 346,100 AstraZeneca vaccines are expected to arrive in Thailand this month, around the same time as Hungary is set to fill an order of 400,000 AstraZeneca vaccines the Thai government had previously ordered.


                    • #11
                      Krabi received 500,000 doses towards its 100% vaccination goal

                      Krabi has received 500,000 vaccines from the Ministry of Public Health as the province begins its reopening plan and pushes towards vaccination goals. Krabi, along with Phang Nga, joined Phuket and the Koh Samui islands as Sandbox destinations that international travellers could arrive into for a 7-day soft quarantine before being allowed to travel freely throughout Thailand.

                      Right now, the province has a vaccination rate of only 35.7%, with high-risk groups like those over the age of 60 years old, women over 12 weeks pregnant, and people with key underlying health conditions sending out about 62.5% vaccinated.

                      Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul has set the ambitious goal of 100% vaccination of the local population before fully reopening the province to foreign tourists. Right now only key locations like Railay Beach, Koh Phi Phi, and Ko Ngai are included in the Sandbox reopening plan that launched October 1.2021

                      Krabi was earlier designated as one of the Sandbox Extension locations as part of Phuket’s 7 + 7 plan we’re, starting in August, after 7 days in phuket, vax mated international arrivals could test negative a second time and travel to the same Sandbox areas in Krabi and also Khao Lak and Kho Yao in Phang Nga.

                      Anutin is pushing hard for the 100% vaccination rate in Krabi especially because of its proximity to Phuket making it an easy location for tourism to spread quickly in the coming months. Once the population is vaccinated, the tourism industry can start growing smoothly with low risk of major Covid-19 outbreaks.

                      Initial vaccine targets include healthcare workers and volunteers who would often be in close proximity to possible Covid-19 infections, and students in Krabi as they aim to reopen schools beginning in November.


                      • #12
                        Korea to donate 470,000 AstraZeneca vaccines to Thailand

                        The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency announced that it will donate nearly 1.6 million AstraZeneca vaccines combined to Thailand and Vietnam. The agency announced yesterday that South Korea will donate 470,000 vaccines to Thailand and 1.1 million vaccines to Vietnam. Korea is now managed to vaccinate nearly 80% of its population, about 41.6 million of its 52 million citizens. As such, it is now donating extra vaccines to some neighbours to help the global vaccination efforts.

                        Yesterday after the announcement from the KDCPA, the Thai Cabinet formally acknowledged the AstraZeneca vaccine donation from South Korea, hopefully avoiding delays like the US Pfizer donation debacle. A deputy spokesperson for the government said, like the 1 million vaccine donation stalled from the US, the Cabinet tasked Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul with the paperwork and signing the donation agreement.

                        There is no confirmed date on when the 470 AstraZeneca vaccines donated by South Korea will be delivered in Thailand yet. But the spokesperson did say that South Korean nationals that are living in Thailand will get first priority on the donated vaccines, something the French, Swiss, and Chinese governments were also able to do with vaccine donations, but Americans and Australians living in Thailand were frustrated earlier this year as their government claimed it was not possible to earmark donated vaccines for their expat citizens.


                        • #13
                          Moderna vaccines scheduled to arrive weekly from November 2021

                          The good vaccine news for Thailand keeps coming! After the World Health Organisation approved Thai-made AstraZeneca for emergency use, now word has been released to expect Moderna vaccines to finally arrive in Thailand in November 2021 Zuellig Pharma, the company that distributes the much sought after Moderna mRNA Covid-19 vaccine, have said to expect weekly shipments to arrive in Thailand with the first one landing in November.

                          Though originally expected to arrive this month, there hadn’t been word of any shipments to give hope for people in Thailand, many of whom ordered Moderna vaccination from private hospitals and clinics. ZP Therapeutics Zuellig Pharma Thailand’s general manager apologised for the delay and said they did everything in their power to get the vaccines into the country as fast as possible.

                          They said that a rush of overwhelming demand, coupled with production delays, contributed to the lateness of vaccine deliveries. Zuellig Pharma was working with Moderna to find more production sources to accelerate manufacturing and had looked for sources in Europe and the United States.

                          Now they expect between 100,000 and 300,000 Moderna vaccines to be delivered to Thailand every week starting next month. The weekly shipments will continue until Zuellig Pharma delivers 1.9 million Moderna vaccines by the end of the fourth quarter of 2021.

                          The distributors and manufacturers would still have more Moderna vaccines to deliver, and the remaining doses they are assuring will be delivered by the end of the first quarter of next year. They say they can’t guarantee an exact date of delivery as the shipments still face several steps in the distribution procedure and the vaccines still need to go through the producer’s quality control process.

                          The finalised dates for each shipment are expected to be confirmed only 1 to 2 weeks before the delivery is received. This procedure is said to be not just for Thailand, but for every country that purchased Moderna vaccines.


                          • #14
                            Japan with another donation of 385,000 AstraZeneca vaccines

                            In what seems like a frequent periodical occurrence, Japan has made yet another donation of AstraZeneca vaccines to Thailand this week. The Japanese government declared that they had sent another 385,210 vaccines that arrived late Friday night. A government spokesperson confirmed the donation and say that PM Prayut Chan-o-cha expressed his thankfulness to Japan for this donation and their continued support and aid in the fight against Covid-19.

                            Previously, Japanese officials made a massive donation of 1.05 million AstraZeneca vaccines in July that they had requested be used to inoculate elderly people that are at high risk in Bangkok. Then on September 08 2021, Japan made a second donation of 300,000 vaccines, along with 775 oxygen concentrators needed to care for severe Covid-19 infections. Most recently, 300,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines arrived in Bangkok September 26 on the anniversary of Thailand and Japan originally establishment of diplomatic relations.

                            The donations now total 2.04 million AstraZeneca vaccines gifted from Japan to Thailand. They have also supplied oxygen concentrators for the treatment of Covid-19 patients as well as supply chain equipment to deal with storing and transporting vaccines.

                            The newest donation of over 385,000 vaccines are planned to contribute to national vaccination drives as Thailand pushes towards reopening first to select nations and select provinces on November 1 and more on December 1. Reopening to vaccinated international travel hinges on vaccination rates, and while a goal has been set to get at least 50% of people fully vaccinated by the end of this month, right now half of the people in Thailand have had only 1 vaccine.


                            • #15
                              AstraZeneca finally delivers over 10 million vaccines in a month

                              AstraZeneca has had a turbulent relationship with Thailand and the Thai government after expectations of 10 million vaccines a month fell well short followed by a lot of finger-pointing and threats. But in October, AstraZeneca delivered 10.5 million vaccines, the first time it met the quota of what was expected or promised, depending on who you believe. When the deal was made for AstraZeneca to be produced domestically in Thailand by Siam Bioscience, a company wholly owned by a subsidiary of Crown Property Bureau, the plan was to provide fast vaccines to Thailand, as well as manufacture doses to sell and distribute across Southeast Asia.

                              The government announced 10 million vaccines would be delivered each month, and started in June with 1.8 million vaccines, but by July they announced they were cutting target deliveries in half to 5 million a month. Soon, massive shortfalls were prompting medical experts to call for a ban on exporting Siam Bioscience’s AstraZeneca vaccines with legal experts warning of major problems with that. A letter leaked in July indicated that the government was told they would receive 3 million to 6 million vaccines a month and they extolled higher figures anyway. Now AstraZeneca production has finally reached the level many expected since June.

                              AstraZeneca has now delivered 35.1 million vaccines of the 61 million promised by the end of this year, meaning if they kept the pace of their new achievement, they would fall short of their promise by 5.9 million vaccines. They would meet the goal if they could produce 13 million vaccines for each of the next 2 months.

                              The managing director of AstraZeneca Thailand said they have increased batch production by 20% so instead of 580,000 doses per batch, they can manufacture 700,000 doses each batch. This allows them to exceed their production expectations and meet the original 10 million vaccines per month for the first time. AstraZeneca is still exporting vaccines to Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam, many of which are experiencing even bigger Covid-19 infections than Thailand.