[Update-1] Government clarifies, says private businesses should not look to import vaccines

Thailand’s government clarified its position on Thursday regarding the importation of vaccines by private entities by saying that hospitals will still be welcomed to find vaccines while private businesses should wait for the government’s program.

Thailand’s government, through the Thai Chamber of Commerce, had said on late Wednesday that the private sector have no need to order vaccines on their own as the government would be able to provide for all vaccine needs.

The Thai Chamber of Commerce released a statement on Wednesday evening which was shared with the Thai Enquirer, reads as follows.

“The government has informed the Thai Chamber of Commerce that it has sourced enough vaccines to meet the requirement of every citizens, therefore the private sector does not need to buy any additional vaccines.

Thai Enquirer reported on Wednesday that private sector requests for the government to countersign vaccine acquisition orders were being ignored by the public health ministry. (Read more here)

The lack of government action came despite criticisms from opposition and coalition politicians over the lack of movement on vaccines and the government’s stonewalling of the private sector’s request.

With mounting criticism, the government clarified its position on Thursday by saying that the Thai Chamber of Commerce statement applied to only private business looking to vaccinate their staff and not private hospitals looking to purchase vaccines.

The government said that it will continue to expedite and allow private hospitals to acquire their own vaccines to supplement the national pool.

Among the major criticisms that the government has received over the course of the last few months are that it has not moved fast enough on its vaccine acquisitions program – rejecting offers from Pfizer and Moderna in favor of Sinovacs and locally produced AstraZeneca variants.

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