BANGKOK — Residents in Thailand will be able to sign up for the first round of vaccination against coronavirus at the end of January, the government announced Friday.
A statement released by the Department of Disease Control said “vulnerable groups” living in the five provinces with highest risk of infection will be prioritized in the initial part of the vaccination drive, before expanding the effort to include the rest of the public in “late 2021 to early 2022.”
The statement quoted Department of Disease Control director Opas Karnkawinpong as saying that the nationwide effort to vaccine Thailand’s population against the virus will be undertaken in three phases.
The first phase, running from February to April, will consist of 2 million doses, reserved for “vulnerable groups” in the five provinces of Chonburi, Samut Sakhon, Trat, Rayong, and Chanthaburi. Registration will open “either at the end of this month or early February.”
Those 2 million doses will likely come from Sinovac, a state-owned manufacturer in China. It is unclear how much the Thai government has paid Sinovac for the vaccines.
Phase 2 will take place in May and June, covering “vulnerable groups” in the rest of the country. The last phase will aim to vaccinate “as many members of the general public as possible” by early 2022, according to the Department of Disease Control.
The doses to be used in Phases 2 and 3 are believed to be the vaccines jointly developed by Oxford University and British pharmaceutical company Astrazeneca.
Health officials have said that the production of Astrazeneca vaccines will take place here in Thailand, per a knowledge sharing agreement between the British firm and Bioscience, a Thai company wholly owned by the Crown Property Bureau.
Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve neither of the vaccines made by Sinovac and Astrazeneca for domestic uses.