Thailand has postponed the general public vaccination of its prime minister with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine after three European international locations paused their rollout of the jab owing to well being considerations.
Prayuth Chan-ocha and members of his authorities had been scheduled to obtain the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, which is Thailand’s core immunisation response to Covid-19, in a Friday morning ceremony on the kingdom’s well being ministry. Reporters who had gathered on the scene have been knowledgeable of the delay solely after they arrived.
Thailand is the primary Asian nation to short-term halt the vaccination drive. Well being authorities stated that they had suspended the rollout after “unwanted effects or opposed signs” have been noticed in some individuals who acquired it.
“To decelerate or to pause vaccinations to analyze is widespread medical apply,” Anutin Charnvirakul, the deputy prime minister and well being minister, stated in a Fb submit. He added that the federal government’s vaccine administration committee had taken motion to make sure “the utmost security of the general public”.
Thailand acted after Denmark, Norway and Iceland on Thursday suspended use of the vaccine after experiences of blood clots in a small quantity of people that acquired it. Nonetheless, the EU’s medicines regulator said there was “presently no indication” that the vaccine had triggered the clots.
At the least 5 different European international locations have halted using a particular batch of the vaccine this week, and Italy’s drug regulator stated it had stopped utilizing one other batch after it was linked to 2 deaths.
Thailand has acquired about 61m doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, most of which will probably be produced by Siam Bioscience, a neighborhood firm. The dominion can be importing 2m doses of the Chinese language-made Sinovac vaccine.
Its vaccine coverage is an unusually delicate subject, as Siam Bioscience is owned by Thailand’s billionaire King Maha Vajiralongkorn, whose powers and wealth got here beneath unprecedented criticism throughout democracy protests final 12 months.
MPs from the opposition Transfer Ahead get together have criticised Prayuth’s authorities of relying too closely on a single vaccine, made by an organization that has by no means manufactured one earlier than.
“I don’t thoughts the hiring of this firm to produce the vaccine to Thai folks, however by widespread sense the federal government ought to supply the vaccine from different sources as effectively,” Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn, an MP with the get together, instructed the Monetary Occasions.
In a single signal of the sensitivity surrounding the subject, Thailand in January charged Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, the get together’s former chief, with insulting the king beneath its harsh lese-majesty regulation after he accused Siam Bioscience of looking for to revenue from distributing the vaccine.
The regulation, which carries a most 15-year sentence, has been used to open circumstances towards greater than 60 protesters, a few of whom at the moment are in jail and have been denied bail as they await trial.
Thailand’s public well being response to the pandemic has typically been considered profitable. With a inhabitants of 69m, it has reported simply 26,679 circumstances of the illness and 85 deaths.