Sinovac, AstraZeneca Ask Thai FDA to Approve Vaccines

This undated photo issued by the University of Oxford shows of vial of coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)

BANGKOK — Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday said it received requests from two international pharmaceuticals to approve their coronavirus vaccines for use in the kingdom.

The requests were filed by Sinovac and AstraZeneca, who are based in China and the United Kingdom, respectively, FDA sec-gen Paisarn Dunkum told reporters, as the number of new reported coronavirus cases hit nearly 300 on Tuesday.

Paisarn did not say how long it would take before a decision is made. The Thai government said it has secured millions of doses from the two companies for its vaccination campaign, starting with “vulnerable groups” in the five provinces hardest hit by the coronavirus.

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On the same day, the government’s coronavirus response center said it registered 287 new infections over the past 24 hours – slightly higher than the previous tally of 249 reported yesterday.

Center spokesman Taweesin Visanuyothin said no new coronavirus death has been reported.

“It’s good news that there’s no fatality,” Taweesin said in the online news conference. “Please, we need everyone to give 100 percent cooperation in order to eradicate the virus.”

Taweesin said he’s currently in Ubon Ratchathani for an inspection tour. The spokesman also said some local communities continue to resist the plan to set up field hospitals, and that it needs to change since having a field hospital will be beneficial for the residents themselves.

The capital reported one new infection today, with a total of 245 accumulated cases. The highest spike remains in Samut Sakhon province where the second outbreak first began in December, with 51 new infections in the past 24 hours and over 3,500 total cases.