Minister of Public Health first to be vaccinated as rollout begins

Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul became the first person in Thailand to be injected with the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine as the national rollout of inoculations began. To dispel any doubts about the vaccines’ safety, Minister Anutin received the vaccination at Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute, with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in attendance.
Following Minister Anutin, other high-ranked officials who received vaccinations include Deputy Phublic Health Minister Sathit Pitutecha, Culture Minister Attipol Khunplome, Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Chalermchai Sri-on, Deputy Education Minister Kanokwan Wilawan and Permanent Secretary for Health Dr. Kiatiphum Wongrajit. A number of health professionals also got the shot.
The Kingdom has an agreement with AstraZeneca to produce its vaccine in Thailand. Production is expected to start in May or June. The government will import about 2 million doses of the Sinovac formulation and about 61 million doses of the AstraZeneca version. Although Thailand is importing vaccines from the two companies, it has not ruled out purchasing others.
The plan is to vaccinate about half of Thailand’s 69 million people by the end of this year. As the first batches of both vaccines arrived in the Kingdom last week, Thailand’s scientists were preparing to launch human trials on two of their own vaccines.
Thailand‘s government took swift and decisive actions against COVID-19 and the virus never spread widely enough to be classified as an epidemic within the country.
Once the initial outbreak was under control, there were no cases of local transmissions for several months. Then came a new outbreak in December, where government actions have succeeded once again in tamping down on infections, and new case numbers have fallen dramatically.
The government said it would distribute a large portion of the newly arrived vaccines to Samut Sakhon, which remained the most affected province.
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