Thailand delays AstraZeneca exports to other countries as local inoculation drive begins

Thailand is delaying locally-produced AstraZeneca vaccines to neighboring countries while it focuses on inoculating its own citizens, a source told Thai Enquirer on Thursday.

There have been problems scaling up production at Siam Bioscience, AZ’s local partner and its sole regional producer, as has previously been reported in Thai Enquirer. (Read more here)

Malaysia, Taiwan, and the Philippines have been informed by the Thai side that orders for the AZ vaccine have been delayed by at least a month, according to a report by Reuters.

The delay has been confirmed by multiple government officials across the region. A source inside Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health told Thai Enquirer that part of the reason for the delay is because the Thai government has decided to focus first on inoculating its own citizens.

“I think the government has been criticized from all sides due to its decision to heavily rely on SBS vaccines and it is especially sensitive right now,” the source told Thai Enquirer by phone.

“So they are halting or delaying exports of the vaccine to focus on the inoculation drive to gain back some credit.”

Thailand’s mass inoculation plans began this week on Monday and as of Thursday morning has seen over 3 million people administered with the first dose of the vaccine.

“I don’t know if this is going to create conflict with AstraZeneca but I do know this is a positive decision for the Thai people,” the source added. “The government is putting its people first even if it is to save face.”

Calls to AstraZeneca Thailand were not returned.

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