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Thailand’s Prime Minister Apologizes For Nationwide Vaccine Shortage

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Thailand’s Prime Minister apologized and took the blame on Tuesday for a covid-19 vaccination shortage that have plagued the country, while thousands of private companies and public organisations are racing to secure doses imported by a royal-backed academy.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said hold-ups were caused by supply and distribution issues, after some hospitals in Bangkok were forced to postpone scheduled inoculations this week.

“I apologize for the problem and would like to take full responsibility for solving it,” Mr Prayut told reporters.

“We will try to manage this better going forward.”

So far, 4.76 million of Thailand’s more than 66 million people have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

AstraZeneca Thailand vaccine shortage

Thailand’s strategy relies heavily on a local firm owned by the King, which is making the AstraZeneca vaccine for distribution in Southeast Asia but has had to delay and downsize some deliveries.

Thailand has been scrambling to procure more vaccines and diversify brands in recent months.

Nearly 7,000 organisations, including private firms and provincial organisations, are seeking “alternative vaccines” from an academy chaired by the King’s youngest sister, Princess Chulabhorn, the academy said.

It said last week that one million doses of Sinopharm’s vaccine should be available from June 20.

Mr Opas Karnkawinpong of the Department of Disease Control said he expected 6.3 million doses of coronavirus vaccine from AstraZeneca and Sinovac would be distributed this month in total, of which 3.5 million have already been delivered.

Meanwhile, The Rural Doctors Society pointed out Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, in his capacity as head of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), was to blame for the “vaccine chaos” in Bangkok. It said the CCSA resolved to give 1 million jabs for Bangkok in June and about 500,000 doses had been allocated last week.

Gen Prayut held a special meeting of the CCSA on May 3 which resolved to set up a Covid-19 centre for Bangkok and surrounding provinces. No cabinet ministers, not even the public health care minister, were appointed to the centre, the network said.

Source: Asia One

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