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Minister of Health: AstraZeneca Covid vaccine will become Thailand’s “main vaccine”



A medical worker holds a box of AstraZeneca vaccine at the Paramus Naradura Institute of Infectious Diseases in Nonthaburi Province, a suburb of Bangkok.

Chaiwat Subprasom | SOPA Images | LightRocket via Getty Images

The Minister of Public Health of Thailand told CNBC on Monday that the coronavirus vaccine jointly developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University will become Thailand’s “main vaccine” as the country is working to restore its vital tourism industry.

The security risks caused by the AstraZeneca-Oxford shooting incident have caused countries including Germany and the Netherlands to stop the use of vaccines for people under the age of 60.

Before taking these latest actions, some countries, including Thailand, suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine after receiving reports of blood clots in some vaccinated people. However, after the World Health Organization stated that a review of existing data showed that the benefits of the vaccine outweighed any risks, many people cancelled the drug withdrawal.

Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health, Anutin Charnvirakul, said that in Thailand, more than 1

50,000 people have been vaccinated with AstraZeneca, and the proportion of side effects “is considered to be Very low”.

Anutin told CNBC’s “Asian Signpost” that Thailand is waiting for the further delivery of AstraZeneca vaccine, which is expected to be delivered around June. The minister said that in addition to the AstraZeneca vaccine, Thailand has also used a vaccine developed by China Xinhua Biotechnology Co., Ltd.

Anutin said that since the end of February, nearly 250,000 people in Thailand have been vaccinated against Covid.

Attract foreign tourists

Compared with many countries around the world, Thailand has reported relatively few Covid cases and deaths. Official data show that as of Sunday, the country has confirmed more than 29,000 infections, of which 95 people have died.

However, according to data from the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council, due to countries restricting travel to slow the spread of Covid-19, their economy dependent on tourism has been severely hit, with a decline of 6.1% in 2020 compared to a year ago .

Anudin said Thailand is stepping up its efforts to restart its tourism industry, including the introduction of “significant quantities” of vaccines in popular tourist destinations such as Phuket and Koh Samui.

The minister said: “We have to ensure the safety of the people. This is our top priority. Therefore, once the people are safe, we believe that our guests, tourists or any businessmen, will definitely come to visit our country.”

In order to attract tourists, Thailand has shortened the quarantine period for foreigners entering the country starting this month. The country also aims to exempt foreign tourists who have been vaccinated from quarantine requirements on Phuket, its largest resort island.


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