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Thailand receives its first coronavirus vaccines

Wed 24th February, 2021 5:13am
BANGKOK, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Thailand received on Wednesday
its first 200,000 doses of Sinovac Biotech's  SVA.O  CoronaVac,
the country's first batch of coronavirus vaccines, with
inoculations set to begin in a few days.
    Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha is expected to be among the
first to receive the vaccine this weekend. Most doses have been
reserved for frontline medical workers.
    "Thank you to the People's Republic of China for delivering
the vaccine this month and subsequent months," Prayuth said on
the tarmac at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport, where a
refrigerated container bearing the flags of the two countries
was lowered from a Thai Airways plane. 
   Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul earlier this week said
117,000 doses of AstraZeneca's  AZN.L  COVID-19 vaccine would
also arrive on Wednesday and that Prayuth would be among the
first recipients.
    Thailand is expecting to take delivery of a further 1.8
doses of CoronaVac in March and April, to be given mainly to
health workers and at-risk groups.
    The country has so far been spared of the kind of epidemic
seen elsewhere, with just over 25,000 infections overall. 
    The vaccine's arrival comes amid some public criticism of
the government and accusations it has been too slow to secure
the vaccines.
    Its mass immunization campaign, which aims to administer 10
million doses a month, is slated to begin in June, using 26
million shots of AstraZeneca vaccines produced by local firm
Siam Bioscience. It has also reserved a further 35 million doses
of the vaccine.    
    The government has said it plans to vaccinate more than half
the adult population this year.
    "We will procure more as we produce them so there is enough
to create herd immunity in our country," Prayuth said. 
    He said the Chinese vaccine would need a few days to be
prepared for inoculations. 
    "As for who will take it first is another story," he said. 

 (Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Martin Petty)
 ((, Twitter: @ChayutSet;
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