BANGKOK — The Thai government is considering a plan to obtain vaccines for the coronavirus from Russia, though more studies are needed into their effectiveness, a health official said.
Nakorn Premsri, the director of the National Vaccine Institute, said Thai researchers will monitor the “Sputnik V” before making recommendations for its use in the Kingdom. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday approved the mass use of the vaccines, reportedly invented by Russian scientists, but many international observers remain skeptical.
“We’re keeping our eyes on it,” Nakorn said in an interview. “But we’re concerned that the vaccine didn’t undergo all the necessary tests.”
Putin described the achievement as the world’s first vaccine poised for human use, and said the vaccine has proven efficient – a dose has already been administered to one of his daughters.
Nakorn said he only learned about the vaccine through media reports so far, and more information is needed before suggesting the government to purchase the vaccine.
Vladimir Kim, a spokesman of the Russian embassy in Bangkok, said he expects no issue in selling the vaccine to Thailand, along with any other countries.
“Why not?” Kim said. “We hope that once the vaccine is put into mass production, including for export purposes, there will be no restrictions in the dissemination.”
Twenty countries have expressed their interest in obtaining the vaccine so far, according to Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
Thailand is also developing its own vaccines for COVID-19. The most progressive prototype, the Messenger RNA vaccine, underwent testing in monkeys and is expected to be tested on humans in October.
At least five vaccines prototypes are being developed domestically by different health institutions, according to the technology ministry.