Thailand secures agreement for 35 million vaccine doses.

Thailand has reached an agreement with pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca to buy 35 million more doses of its COVID-19 vaccine as the government pledged to vaccinate half the population by the middle of this year.

“We made an additional order with AstraZeneca for 35 million doses,” Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha told reporters last week.

Added to previous agreements with AstraZeneca, Sinovac and other companies, the Kingdom has a total of 63 million doses on order, with some already starting to arrive. Thailand has a population of about 70 million people. Most COVID-19 vaccines require two doses to be effective.

The Kingdom also has an agreement with AstraZeneca to manufacture 26 million of the doses in Thailand. The Prime Minister said that Thailand will export some of those doses to neighboring countries struggling with the spread of the virus.

After having no local transmissions of COVID-19 for several months, health officials discovered a new outbreak among some migrant workers. The virus has now spread to some other provinces.

Having successfully contained the virus after the first outbreak early last year, the government has been re-implementing measures and restrictions as it works to slow and stop the current outbreak.

Thailand is also working on its own vaccine. Kiat Ruxrungtham, Director of the vaccine development program at Chulalongkorn University, one of the leading universities in the Kingdom situated in Bangkok, said that the first phase of human trials on the Thai vaccine would begin in May this year. He expects results for phase two later in September.

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