By Siam Rath and Reuters
AFTER the approval of Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine for emergency use today (May 28) Mr Nithi Mahanonda, secretary-general of the Chulabhorn Royal Academy which is importing 1 million doses, said the price would not exceed 1,000 baht a jab including insurance.
This is the Covid fifth vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after AstraZeneca, Sinovac’s CoronaVac, Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen and Moderna.
Nithi said Chulabhorn Royal Academy, set up in 2016 and chaired by Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn , is a non-profit organisation that is directly under Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and the price is based on the purchase price plus storage and transportation costs.
The price is no different than other vaccines, he added.
The academy will be importing and allocating this vaccine in consultation with the Public Health Ministry to both public and private parties interested in purchasing it together with insurance.
The same price will apply nationwide with this still being appraised, he added.
The government’s mass vaccinations programme is due to start next month, using mainly AstraZeneca vaccines made locally by Siam Bioscience, a company owned by His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn.
The government says it will have 6 million AstraZeneca doses and 3 million Sinovac doses available in June.
The royal academy procurement comes after Thailand was hit by its worst Covid-19 outbreak so far, with over 80% of its 144,976 cases and 954 deaths occurring in the past two months, driven by the highly transmissible B.1.1.7 variant first detected in Britain.
Just over 1 million of Thailand’s more than 66 million people are fully vaccinated.
The announcement in the official Royal Gazette surprised some members of the government, which had until now insisted on being the sole importer of Covid-19 vaccines.
The Federation of Thai Industries and the energy firm PTT Group Pcl have shown interest as potential buyers and the academy would continue to negotiate for more doses after June based on demand, Nithi said.
The Sinopharm vaccine is made in Beijing by Chinese state-owned firm Sinopharm. The other Chinese vaccine — CoronaVac — is produced by private company Sinovac, also based in Beijing.
Top: A man getting the Sinopharm vaccine jab which has already been given to millions of people. Photo: EPA and published by BBC
Home Page: The royal academy’s secretary-general Mr Nithi Mahanonda briefing the press today. Photo: Siam Rath