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Thailand to start first coronavirus vaccinations this week

Tue 23rd February, 2021 9:31am
BANGKOK, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Thailand will start vaccinating
priority groups including health workers against COVID-19 by the
end of this week, its prime minister said on Tuesday, a day
ahead of the arrival of the country's first coronavirus
vaccines.  
    Thailand will receive the first 200,000 of two million doses
of Sinovac Biotech's  SVA.O  CoronaVac on Wednesday. The Chinese
vaccine was given emergency use authorisation on Monday.
 urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2KS0X8 
    "We will start injecting the target groups within three days
after the vaccines arrive," Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha
said in a Facebook post. 
    The Sinovac vaccines will be given to priority groups in 13
provinces, the COVID-19 taskforce said. More than half of the
200,000 doses will be earmarked for Samut Sakhon, the epicentre
of Thailand's latest outbreak, and the capital, Bangkok. 
    Prayuth said 800,000 more doses will arrive in March and the
remaining one million in April, some of which will be used for
the second inoculations for priority groups. 
    Prayuth also said that 26 million doses of vaccines on order
from AstraZeneca  AZN.L , which has authorised a Thai firm to
manufacture its vaccine, will be ready around May to June. 
    Thailand has also reserved a further 35 million doses from
AstraZeneca. 
    Thailand will also receive 117,000 imported doses of the
AstraZeneca vaccine on Wednesday, health minister Anutin
Charnvirakul told reporters. 
    Those were part of the 150,000 "early doses" he had
previously said AstraZeneca would provide from another Asian
country. 
    Authorities have received some documents from Johnson &
Johnson's  JNJ.N  Janssen and have been contacted by Moderna
 MRNA.O  and Pfizer  PFE.N , all with a view to registering
their COVID-19 vaccines, according to Prayuth. 
    Thailand is aiming to administer 10 million doses a month
from June when its mass vaccination campaign is in full swing.  

 (Reporting by Panarat Thepgumnpanat; Writing by Patpicha
Tanakasempipat; Editing by Martin Petty)
 ((patpicha.tanakasempipat@tr.com; +66818317884; @patpichatan;))
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