Japan to Donate 300,000 More AZ Shots to Thailand

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha virtually presides over a ceremony to welcome Japan's donation of over 1 million AstraZeneca vaccines to Thailand at Government House on July 12, 2021. (Image: Government House)

BANGKOK — The Japanese government said on Monday it will donate 1.3 million AstraZeneca vaccines to several Asian countries and territories, including 300,000 doses to Thailand.

Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said the country’s newest round of vaccine donation will include 400,000 doses for Vietnam, 300,000 for Thailand, 100,00 doses for Brunei, and 500,000 doses for Taiwan.

So far, Japan has given out more than 23 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine produced in Japan to countries in South Asia and the Pacific islands, Motegi said.

The vaccines have been dispersed throughout Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, the minister said. Thailand alone has received 1.3 million doses of AstraZeneca from Japan as donations.

Japan has also pledged $1billion and 30 million doses to the Covax programme, which is overseen by the GAVI Alliance and the World Health Organization.

Half of Japan’s population has been fully vaccinated, according to published government data, compared to just 17 percent in Thailand.

The vaccination program in Thailand was meant to rely on AstraZeneca doses produced domestically by Siam Bioscience, but the palace-owned company failed to meet its target, citing delays and production issues.

The Chulabhorn Royal Academy also announced on Monday that it will buy 8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna.

The doses will be administered as booster shots next year, said the royal academy, which is 1 out of only 5 agencies with the authority to seek alternative vaccine sources. The academy has already imported shipments of Sinopharm vaccine from China and sold them to private entities.