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February 24, 2021

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Thailand nod for Sinovac vaccine

THAILAND has approved Sinovac Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, paving the way for the country to receive its first vaccine shipment of 200,000 doses from the Chinese biopharmaceutical firm today.

The country’s Food and Drug Administration has cleared the Sinovac vaccine for emergency use, and the first batch, aboard a Thai Airways International plane, is scheduled to arrive at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi international airport early today, Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul said yesterday.

The authorization for the Sinovac vaccine will be valid for one year, according to the FAD approval letter that Anutin posted on his Facebook page.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will go to the airport to observe the delivery of the vaccine, said a government official, who requested anonymity due to lack of authority. Prayut said on Monday that he may be among the first people in the country to get vaccinated with the Sinovac vaccine.

The first Sinovac shots will be administered to at-risk groups, including medical workers, those who may be dutifully bound to make close contact with infected patients and those with chronic illnesses, the Center for the COVID-19 Situation Administration spokesman Taweesin Visanuyothin said yesterday.

The 200,000 doses, excluding 16,300 doses to be stored in reserve, will be sent to 13 provinces with high infection rates and economic significance. Samut Sakhon province, where the new wave of outbreak was first detected, will be assigned with 70,000 doses, the most among the regions, according to Taweesin.

Samut Sakhon now remains the only province under the highest risk category with continued containment measures.

Capital Bangkok will be given 66,000 doses, while four provinces, namely Chonburi, Phuket, Chiang Mai and Surat Thani, which are largely considered as the country’s economic movers, will together share 14,700 doses, he said.


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