Government committee coordinating vaccine rollout

Thailand will use its robust logistics networks to distribute millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses, public health officials said as they formed a committee to oversee what they intend to be a glitch-free rollout of vaccines.

Thailand has a total of 63 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines on order from AstraZeneca and other pharmaceutical companies, and some are already starting to arrive. Delivering injections to its 70 million people as rapidly as possible would be a next step forward.

Fortunately, the Kingdom has one of the strongest public health systems and infrastructures among developing nations, and a logistics sector, both public and private, that has successfully drawn foreign investors because of its efficiency and comprehensiveness.

The abovementioned committee in charge of rolling out the vaccine will be chaired by Dr. Sophon Mekthon, an adviser to the Public Health Minister and Chairman of the Government Pharmaceutical Organization.

Members of the committee will be responsible for deciding who manages the vaccinations, prioritizing the order in which different groups receive their injections and monitoring and evaluating the progress of the distribution and the program.

The vaccines will be free for all Thais. On top of that, the Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Health, also gave permission to private hospitals to administer vaccine injections outside the free program for those who want it sooner and are willing to pay.

The goal is to get as many Thais vaccinated as quickly as possible, and so a variety of channels are being considered and used.

“The situation with the pandemic is changing fast,” said Dr. Opas Karnkawinpong, Director-General of the Department of Disease Control. “We are going to see more pharmaceutical companies requesting Thai Food and Drug Administration approval, and that means private hospitals will be able to provide COVID-19 vaccines.”

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