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Indian Government Offered Vaccine to Thailand in December
Published: February 1, 2021 at 7:25 am
There reportedly has been no feedback from the Thai government.
Reports have indicated that the Indian government in New Delhi has extended an offer to the Kingdom of Thailand to supply vaccines to the government’s immunization program. However, the Cabinet of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has yet to make a decision on the offer.
According to the Department of Information, Indian government representatives got together with officials from the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs in December in order to discuss the Indian government’s proposal to supply vaccines for the immunization program set to begin next month.
A second meeting took place on January 23, last Saturday, Department Director-General Tanee Sangrat said.
Mr. Tanee said that, contrary to earlier reports, the MFA did not turn down the Indian proposal. Instead, the Ministry is working with the relevant government agencies that can help in the decision.
“The MFA sent a note to agencies concerned in late January. I believe the coordination among [the] Thai side is ongoing,” he said.
The Thai Enquirer’s sources within the Indian Government in New Delhi also confirmed that Thai and Indian officials had indeed met in December.
However, they were unable to confirm the second meeting last week. The source told the Thai Inquirer that the Ministry of Affairs had not followed up on the offer nor expressed interest. There had been no communication at all from the Thai government, the source insisted.
Indian Ambassador to Thailand Suchitra Durai had previously expressed her government’s willingness to provide vaccines should Thailand be interested in adding their jabs to its inventory.
“Many countries across the world, including many in Southeast Asia, have opted to purchase our vaccines. Thailand is also welcome to do so and that the Indian Embassy would be happy to facilitate it,” she said.
As it has already kick started its own vaccination program, the Indian government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pledged that it will supply vaccines to any neighboring country that expresses interest as a measure of goodwill.
One of the countries to first express interest and take up the offer is Myanmar, which began its inoculation program this week after receiving the vaccines from India.
India itself is in the middle of its own immunization program, which aims to inoculate close to 300 million people. This is almost equal to the population of the United States.
India’s government had conducted extensive training and testing on more than 100,000 health workers. 700 districts will be receiving the locally produced Covaxin and Covishield vaccines. The latter vaccine is a locally produced version of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine, with manufacturing duties assumed by the Serum Institute.
Covishield is also the vaccine that India supplied to Myanmar, whose government had ordered 1.5 million doses from the Serum Institute. The Burmese government also signed an additional contract with Serum Institute for 30 million more doses of Covishield.
Myanmar’s number of cases skyrocketed since September. A number of Thais working on border towns in Myanmar have sneaked back to the Kingdom illegally, causing a mini-outbreak in border provinces. The Thai government has since filed cases against these illegal returnees.