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Coronavirus

AstraZeneca searching for more vaccine doses for Thailand, SE Asia

Published: Updated:

AstraZeneca Plc is “scouring” its global supply chain to try and boost COVID-19 vaccine supplies to Thailand and Southeast Asia, its representative for the country said on Saturday, amidst speculations of local production shortfalls.

The comments come after leaked letters showed last week that the drug maker had offered to supply 5-6 million vaccine doses a month to Thailand, contradicting assertions by Thai officials that the government is owed 10 million a month and 61 million doses by end-2021.

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AstraZeneca is “scouring the 20 plus supply chains in our worldwide manufacturing network to find additional vaccines for Southeast Asia, including Thailand,” James Teague, managing director of AstraZeneca Thailand, said in a statement.

“We are hopeful of importing additional doses in the months ahead,” he added.

The drug maker had previously said vaccine doses for Thailand and Southeast Asia would come from a plant of its Thai partner Siam Bioscience, owned by Thailand’s king and a first-time vaccine maker.

This handout from the Royal Thai Government taken and released on March 16, 2021 shows Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha (C) receiving the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine in Bangkok. (File photo: AFP)
This handout from the Royal Thai Government taken and released on March 16, 2021 shows Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha (C) receiving the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine in Bangkok. (File photo: AFP)

Pressure has been mounting on the company after Thailand said it was considering imposing limits on exports of locally manufactured AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines to shore up domestic supplies, a move that could hit its neighbors, some of which are battling similar or more severe COVID-19 crises.

Siam Bioscience has not commented on reports of production shortfalls or delivery timelines.

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Teague said AstraZeneca has delivered 9 million does so far to Thailand and will deliver 2.3 million more next week.

Thailand has fully inoculated just 5.56 percent of its population of more than 66 million so far, while 18.62 percent have received at least one dose, government data shows.

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