Thailand gets first batch of Sinovac jabs

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha shows the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand, Feb 24, 2021. Xinhua/China Daily

Thailand welcomed the arrival of a Chinese-developed Covid-19 vaccine on February 24.

In Bangkok, authorities took possession of 200,000 doses of a vaccine from Sinovac Biotech Ltd, putting the country on course to kick off a national inoculation campaign.

Sinovac vaccine could prove “a big hand to help Thailand” in its fight against Covid-19, “especially in the areas with high transmission”, said Chulalongkorn University’s Thira Woratanarat.

He noted that Thailand has been overwhelmed with a second wave of infections, with the problem worsened by delayed planning and negotiations with vaccine manufacturers.

Taweesin Visanuyothin, spokesperson for the Thai government’s Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, on February 23 said the 200,000 doses, excluding 16,300 to be stored in reserve, will be sent to 13 provinces with high infections rates and are economically significant.

The first group of people to get vaccinated includes medical workers, those in close contact with Covid-19 patients and people with certain chronic illnesses, and those aged 60 years or older, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Panyapiwat Institute of Management’s China-ASEAN Studies director Tang Zhimin said the shipment of Sinovac’s vaccine is “a great move” for Thailand to jump start vaccinations and catch up with the ASEAN neighbours that had already gotten off their campaigns.