Thailand says its National Vaccine Committee is planning to set aside 93.25 million dollars (2.93 billion baht) for the purchase of 66 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in 2021.
Panprapa Yongtrakul, the vice spokesperson of the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), said this at a daily news conference on Monday.
Panprapa said that 66 million doses would cover 33 million Thais or roughly 50 per cent of the population.
“The committee, chaired by Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, has decided to reserve the vaccines via two methods.
“The first will be to reserve a lot via the Covax campaign overseen by the World Health Organisation, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the Vaccine Alliance.
“That should cover 20 per cent of Thais,” she added.
Panprapa said that the second lot would be to reserve doses with 10 manufacturers in the U.S., China, Britain, and Russia, adding that those countries were already conducting third-phase human trials.
Meanwhile, Thailand’s National Vaccine Institute has expressed the belief that COVID-19 vaccines should be ready by next year.
The 93.25 million dollars (2.93 billion baht) budget to buy vaccines will still need to be approved by the cabinet which will decide whether the money should come from the national budget or government loans.
According to Nakorn Premsri, Director of the National Vaccine Institute, the vaccines will be supplied in lots, so payments can also be made in instalments.
Nakorn, however, said that the vaccines would be made available to frontline health workers first as they face the highest risks of COVID-19.