Thailand reluctant to join Covax programme due to strict conditions

BANGKOK (BLOOMBERG) – The Thai government won’t procure Covid-19 vaccines through the World Health Organisation-backed Covax programme for now because the conditions are too strict, according to the National Vaccine Institute.

The move may put the country at risk of delays in the procurement of vaccines, as well as of higher prices.

Under the programme, Thailand would be saddled with extra charges for booking vaccine supplies, and limitations have also been imposed on the producers and delivery period available to participants, the director of the National Vaccine Institute said in a statement late on Saturday (Feb 6).

Covax also requires a minimum purchase equivalent to 10 per cent of a country’s population in order to facilitate speedy delivery, which would still be subject to conditions and costs, Dr Nakorn Premsri said.

“Acquiring the vaccines directly from the producers will be more flexible because we can decide how much we will buy and also negotiate pricing, which may lead to a cheaper price for large orders,” Dr Nakorn said.

Still, negotiations are continuing, he said, adding that with acceptable conditions, Thailand might procure the vaccine through the Covax programme in the future.

Thailand reported 490 new cases of the coronavirus on Saturday, increasing the total number of infections in the nation to 23,134.

Of those, 18,897 infections have been reported since mid-December.

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