Many countries around the world are starting their Covid-19 vaccine rollouts. The Thailand Ministry of Public Health has approved the use of the Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines. The first phase of the vaccination rollout is expected to start this month (February 2021), using Sinovac vaccines ordered in 2020 and a small supply of the recently approved AstraZeneca vaccine.
A third supplier, Johnson and Johnson, is currently waiting for approval from the Thai Government to register their single dose vaccine.
A short recap of the Covid vaccines that are being rolled out in Thailand:
The Sinovac vaccine is an Inactivated Virus Vaccine, this means the body’s immune system is exposed to killed viral particles.
- The AstraZeneca vaccine is a Viral Vector Vaccine which injects a piece of the virus into the body.
- Both the Sinovac and the AstraZeneca vaccines should be kept refrigerated at 2-8C.
- Vaccinations will be delivered in two doses, 28 days apart.
The Covid-19 vaccines will be offered to Thai nationals for free through the network of public hospitals, although it will not be compulsory. And the first phase of the rollout will prioritise healthcare and front-line workers. Private hospitals in Thailand are also allowed to import and sell the Covid-19 vaccinations, to administer it to those who can afford to pay, as long as the vaccines are approved by the Food & Drug Authority (FDA) of Thailand.
The global demand for Covid-19 vaccines has resulted in a supply shortage for many countries.
Thailand doesn’t want to rely only on importing the vaccines and is also working on producing their own Covid vaccine.
Thailand has an agreement with AstraZeneca through Siam Bioscience to receive technology transfer to produce the AstraZeneca vaccine in Thailand. The local production of the vaccine will enable Thailand to protect its own population locally, and also provide the opportunity to sell to neighbouring countries.
Covid Vaccination timeline in Thailand:
Thailand is expected to begin the Covid-19 vaccination program on February 24, 2021, prioritising healthcare and front-line workers, the elderly (60+), morbidly obese people and those with congenital diseases in 10 provinces including Samut Sakhon, Bangkok and Tak.
A total of two million doses of the Sinovac vaccine will be administered from February to April 2021, with the rollout of the locally produced AstraZeneca vaccines expected to start in May 2021. The table below summarises the Covid-19 vaccine rollout in Thailand.
|February 2021||200,000 Sinovac doses to be administered
50,000 AstraZeneca doses will be imported for emergency use
|March 2021||800,000 Sinovac doses to be administered
|April 2021||1 million Sinovac doses to be administered|
|May 2021||Expected rollout of locally-produced AstraZeneca vaccines|
The second phase will see an additional 61 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine being administered between June and December 2021, which should result in 50% of the population being vaccinated by the end of 2021. The Thai government expects to reach a broader set of the population during phase 2, including those who work in tourism or aviation.