Thailand's Vaccine Institute Head Apologizes For Lack Of COVID-19 Shots
BANGKOK (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 21st July, 2021) The director of Thailand's National Vaccine Institute, Nakorn Premsri, has publicly apologized for the COVID-19 vaccine shortage hindering their vaccination program.
Premsri was in charge of purchasing vaccine doses within the framework of the state vaccination program for this year.
"On behalf of the Institute I am begging the pardon of all the residents of Thailand for the shortage of vaccines for the implementation of the 2021 immunization program plans," Premsri said at a daily press conference in the health ministry.
The director explained that the vaccines had been ordered in 2020, and nobody could foresee a rapid growth of infections and new variants of COVID-19 that are much more contagious than previously.
"We failed to respond to these changes in time," the chief added.
Premsri has assured Thai citizens that the institute was now making every effort to fully meet the vaccination needs of the country; in particular, it is negotiating vaccine supplies for the first quarter 2022 to complete vaccination.
The national program was aimed at vaccinating at least 70% of 69 million of the population during the two last quarters of 2021 and the first quarter 2022. About 3.5 million Thais are fully vaccinated so far. Over 14 million vaccine doses have been used in Thailand so far, only 10% of which are second doses.
Delays in the vaccination program have occurred mostly because the Thai AstraZeneca vaccine manufacturer has not managed to produce 60 million doses, which the government ordered in 2020, on time. Moreover, according to the protocol from AstraZeneca, only one third of the output can be used domestically, while the remaining part must be exported.