Thailand to Receive 200K Shots of Sinovac Jab Next Month
Published: January 4, 2021 at 4:50 pm
This is the first batch out of 2 million shots.
Thailand will be receiving its first batch of doses of China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd. by next month. This will augment Thailand’s ability to take care of those who are in the highest risk groups for COVID-19, with local production of AstraZeneca’s vaccine also on the way.
According to reports, the first batch will be shipped in 200,000 doses next month. It will be followed by 800,000 doses in March and a final 1 million doses in April, for a total order of 2 million doses.
On the other hand, local production is expected to have vaccines ready for distribution as early as May this year as it has to undergo testing.
Thailand has signed last year an agreement with AstraZeneca PLC for a technology transfer for its COVID-19 vaccine. The agreement includes a component that will allow Thailand to produce doses through the Siam Bioscience Group for the Southeast Asian market.
Thailand’s authorities are racing to contain a rapidly spreading outbreak of the COVID-19, which observers are considering as a “second wave” of the virus in the country following months of lull in local transmission.
The new wave began spreading in Samut Sakhon, in a central shrimp market where migrant workers were employed. Majority of the infected people in the province that were detected as positive are migrant workers, but local Thais from various provinces have also been exposed as well after visiting and buying shrimp.
The virus has since spread to more than 50 provinces, with 28 provinces considered to be in the “red zone” or “maximum control zone,” including Bangkok.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha signed on Sunday a set of measures that place restrictions on business operations and curbs public gatherings in a bid to contain the virus in these provinces.
As of Monday, schools and buildings owned by educational institutions are to be closed and not used for learning activities or activities that require public gathering. However, teachers and public officials can use the buildings to facilitate online learning, charitable activities and public service activities. These, however, would need the permission of the provincial governor.
Entertainment venues like pubs, bars and karaoke outlets are ordered closed, while eateries are limited to 50% of their usual crowd.
Public assemblies like seminars and parties are likewise prohibited as long as the directives are in effect.
To serve the people’s essential needs, Shopping malls, department stores, community malls, convention and exhibition halls, convenience stores, supermarkets, and other similar places are allowed to continue operating but must adhere to strict disease control measures.
A total of 445 new cases of COVID-19 among migrant workers were detected through active testing on Sunday. The remaining 96 cases are all local Thais.
Deputy Health Minister Sathit Pitutecha said that it is currently seeking approval of the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration for the locking down of Rayong, Chonburi and Chanthaburi.
According to Minister Sathit, many people are refusing to be screened for COVID-19 in these provinces or are hiding their activities from the government.