AstraZeneca on track to meet Southeast Asia vaccine orders


astrazeneca southeast asia

People receive the first dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Central Vaccination Center, inside the Bang Sue Grand Station, Thailand, June 21, 2021. REUTERS FILE PHOTO

BANGKOK — Drugmaker AstraZeneca said on Monday it was on schedule to meet its commitments for supplying coronavirus vaccines in Southeast Asia, after some initial delays in regional production and delivery.

AstraZeneca said Thailand, which is manufacturing its vaccine locally, will have received its agreed quota of 6 million doses within this month, while export to other Southeast Asian countries will start in early July.

In a statement AstraZeneca Thailand said partner Siam Bioscience, owned by King Maha Vajiralongkorn, will produce 180 million doses this year, just over a third for Thailand and two thirds for elsewhere in Southeast Asia.

It did not provide details of the status and volume of the orders for other countries. AstraZeneca and Siam Bioscience did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Thailand’s mass vaccination drive relies heavily on the AstraZeneca vaccine and it experienced initial production delays that also affected Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan.

Thailand has also used Sinovac Biotech’s vaccine, with 10.5 million doses received so far and 37 million on order.

Its health ministry on Monday said two doses of the Sinovac vaccine was shown to be 95% effective in reducing instances of mortality and severe symptoms, based on its real-world data study.

The study showed 71% to 91% efficacy in reducing infection against the Alpha variant first identified in Britain, which has been detected in 80% of Thailand’s cases since April.

The ministry warned, however, that infections with the Delta variant first identified in India have increased significantly in the past week, up 30% in the outbreak epicenter Bangkok.

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