Thailand to launch Covid-19 vaccine production 'in first half of 2021'

Disease Control Department director-general Opas Karnkawinpong.
PHOTO: The Nation/Asia News Network

AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine should be available in Thailand in the first half of 2021, under a technology-transfer deal signed with the Thai government.

Siam Bioscience will receive the technology for the vaccine, which was developed by a team at Oxford University.

The Thai firm expects to register the vaccine with the Food and Drug Administration in the next six months, and produce enough doses for Thailand and Asean neighbours in the first half of 2021. Initially, 26 million doses will be produced for 13 million Thais.

Siam Bioscience has a production capacity of 180 million to 200 million doses per year or 15 million doses per month.

Disease Control Department director-general Opas Karnkawinpong estimates Thailand needs 2 million doses per month. The rest will be exported to neighbouring countries.

Read Also
Thailand to make, supply AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine
Thailand to make, supply AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine

The Vaccine Board is expected to reveal in December which groups will receive the vaccine first, after considering mortality rates, chance of infection, etc. Judging from the 2009 influenza vaccination programme, the first group to receive the vaccine will be the elderly and vulnerable people with underlying diseases.

Results from phase 3 of clinical trials showed the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine was 70 per cent effective, rising to 90 per cent if a half dose then a full dose was administered.

The company will now submit the results to the UK and European Food and Drug Administrations for approval.

AstraZeneca and Oxford University are committed to expanding the vaccine capacity to the world population with a target of Bt3.1 billion (S$137 million) doses per year.

For the latest updates on the coronavirus, visit here.