Thailand's National Vaccine Committee is planning to set aside Bt2.93 billion ($93.3 million) to purchase 66 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines within next year, Public Health Ministry spokesperson Dr Phanprapha Yongtrakul said on Monday.
The 66 million doses will cover 33 million Thais or roughly 50 per cent of the population.
“The committee, chaired by Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, has decided to reserve the vaccines via two methods.
“The first will be to reserve a lot via the Covax campaign overseen by the World Health Organisation, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the Vaccine Alliance, which should cover 20 per cent of Thais.
“The second will be to reserve doses with 10 manufacturers in the US, China, UK and Russia that are conducting third-phase human trials,” she said.
Dr Nakhon Premsri, the director of the National Vaccine Institute said: “We expect the vaccine to be ready next year, and each person will require two doses. The deal for reserving vaccines for Thai people will be discussed later this month.”
Our proposed budget is subject to approval by the Cabinet, which will decide if it should come from the national budget or government loans. The vaccines will be supplied in lots, so payments can also be made in instalments.”
Nakhon said the vaccine will be provided to priority groups first, such as medical staff who are at the frontline of the battle against Covid-19 as they face the highest risk and are vital to the country’s public health system.
Meanwhile, the government is also considering how to further ease travel restrictions for people who want to enter Thailand for business or investment purposes.
Easing entry for businesspersons would help lift the economy, which is sagging under the impact from Covid-19, government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said on Monday.
The Centre for Covid-19 Administration Situation has so far permitted about 11,000 foreign businesspeople and work-permit holders to enter Thailand. All went into alternative state quarantine for 14 days when they arrived in Thailand.
The centre has also given the green light for long-stay foreign visitors to enter Thailand from October 1 on Special Tourist Visas. The tourists must undergo alternative state quarantine for 14 days.
THE NATION (THAILAND)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK