Pfizer and Moderna set to be part of Thailand’s vaccine mix

Thailand is adding more COVID-19 vaccine varieties to its national program as a hospital group said it would import Moderna’s vaccine and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has begun the approval process for Pfizer’s formulation.

At the moment, only AstraZeneca and Sinovac vaccines are available. AstraZeneca is being produced locally and the company manufacturing it has vowed to deliver 6 million doses in June.

Thonburi Hospital Group announced that it would import the Moderna vaccine for patients at its 15 hospitals in 14 provinces. Several hospitals have expressed interest in importing the Pfizer vaccine, whilst waiting on FDA approval.

Meanwhile, the government has ordered 20 million doses from Pfizer in anticipation the FDA will give its approval for emergency use. The government is aiming to have at least half the population fully vaccinated by the end of this year. Moderna and Pfizer vaccines could play an important part in immunizing the remaining half of Thais.

In the slightly longer term, Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok is developing its version of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, and last week it began human trials involving 72 test subjects. First trials are usually aimed at establishing safety instead of efficacy. If these trials are successful, researchers said the second round, dealing with efficacy, would start in August.

“The safety of every volunteer is our main concern, so we must follow a clinical timetable to ensure the vaccine will prevent sickness and demise from COVID-19,” said Dr. Kiat Ruxrungtham, Head of Chulalongkorn University’s Vaccine Research Center.

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