Thailand kicks off Covid-19 vaccine program with China’s Sinovac shot

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha holding a sample of the Sinovac vaccine on Feb 24, 2021.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

On 28 February, Thai state-owned NBT television network showed in a national live broadcast how Thailand kicked off the country’s Covid-19 vaccine program using China’s Sinovac vaccine. Presided by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul and a group of healthcare workers were the first to received the Sinovac vaccine in Thailand.

According to Dr. Opas Kankawinpong, director-general of the Disease Control Department, Mr. Prayut was not vaccinated as earlier planned because the Sinovac vaccine is not recommended for people of his age, and although AstraZeneca’s vaccine arrived in Thailand on 24 February the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company still needs to complete the quality-assurance process.

“Today’s event is to assure the public about the safety of the vaccine that the government will roll out from now on,” Mr. Prayut said during the live broadcast. Adding, “National vaccination is a major step for the government to go through with this Covid-19 pandemic.”

Thailand has until date reported a cumulative total of 25,951 Covid-19 cases and 83 deaths and with the vaccine program, the country aims to inoculate 50 percent of its population by the end of this year.
The Thai government has also approved AstraZeneca’s vaccine and has ordered 61 million doses.

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