Cabinet Injects 1 Billion Baht into Corona Vaccine Efforts

A file photo of a food handout for people affected by the coronavirus in Bangkok.

BANGKOK (Xinhua) — The Thai Cabinet meeting on Tuesday rubber stamped 1 billion baht (31.7 million U.S. dollars) in funding for the National Vaccine Institute to support development and production of vaccines against COVID-19 and other diseases.

The Thai government announced that the funding will come from emergency budget set aside for 2020.

Thailand has had success in containing the outbreak but remains at risk of a second wave of COVID-19 due to the large number of global cases, hence a COVID-19 vaccine is now viewed as an essential tool if Thailand is to reopen to international tourism and revive the economy, said deputy government spokeswoman Traisuree Taisaranakul.

Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health on Tuesday said that Thailand is inching towards a 90-day free of local transmission.

“Still, Thailand will need to produce our own locally made COVID-19 vaccines,” said the ministry.

The Ministry of Public Health told the media that a blueprint for obtaining a COVID-19 vaccine had already been approved by the National Vaccine Committee since April 22.

The blueprint lays out the cooperation between the public and private sectors to implement two strategies.

The two strategies include obtaining high-potential vaccine prototypes and technology from foreign countries, and supporting vaccine development in Thailand.

The latter is a longer-term strategy for achieving timely access to vaccines and building domestic capacity to develop and produce vaccines, the ministry said.