Siam Bioscience, a pharmaceutical company owned by the Royal Thai Royal Family, has begun production of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine to serve domestic demand and export.
The number of shipments and other details have not been disclosed, but Thai Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said on June 1 that 6 million doses will be delivered this month.
The Thai government, which has been criticized for its delayed vaccination program, is likely to launch the domestically produced AstraZeneca vaccine in June as the number of new infections is soaring. Vaccine exports to neighboring countries could begin as early as July.
King Maha Vajiralongkorn is the main shareholder of Siam Bioscience. This company has the exclusive right to produce the AstraZeneca vaccine in Thailand under an agreement with the British pharmaceutical company in November 2020. Siam Bioscience is also the sole vaccine manufacturer of AstraZeneca in Southeast Asia.
In May, AstraZeneca announced that a vaccine made in Thailand had passed quality checks at laboratories in Europe and the US.
Community cases of Covid-19 in Thailand have decreased, but in recent weeks the number of new infections has increased sharply, in part because people returned home for the Songkran holiday in April.
According to statistics from John Hopkins University, Thailand currently records 169,348 infections and 1,146 deaths. This is much lower than the more than 1.8 million cases and 51,095 deaths in Indonesia – Southeast Asia’s worst-affected country.
As of May 30, 3.8% of the country’s population was vaccinated with at least one dose of the vaccine and 1.6% was fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data.
Mai Dung (According to the Nikkei Asia)