Photos by GABRIEL BOUYS and Ronny Hartmann / AFP
The AstraZeneca vaccine will be used as a third, booster dose for medical personnel before the arrival of the Pfizer vaccine, after which both will be used, according to Thailand’s Department of Disease Control (DDC) today (Friday).
The move comes due to the urgent need to protect medics, as many are still being found infected with COVID-19, despite having been given two doses of Sinovac. Recent medical findings point to the inability of the Sinovac vaccine, a whole virus type, to protect people from the newly dominant Delta variant, which is spreading rapidly in many parts of the world.
Thailand has received over 9.2 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, as of last week, mostly locally produced by Siam Bioscience, with about one million doses donated by the Japanese government.
The country has yet to receive any of the mRNA vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna, but purchase contracts were signed this week, for 20 million doses of Pfizer on Tuesday and 5 million doses of Moderna today. The former is a direct government procurement, while the latter is for prepaid bookings at private hospitals through the Government Pharmaceutical Organization. Both are expected to be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2021.
About 1.5 million doses of Pfizer, donated by the US government, are expected to arrive next week.