BANGKOK (Reuters) – AstraZeneca has asked Thailand to extend the timeline for the delivery of 61 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine by five months, a deputy minister said on Thursday, a move likely to disrupt further the country’s sluggish vaccine rollout.
Deputy Health Minister Sathit Pitutacha said AstraZeneca currently had the capacity to produce 15 million doses of vaccine per month at its production facility in Thailand and that capacity could expand in the future.
The company has promised to deliver 40% of what is produced to Thailand, the deputy health minister said, adding that Thailand will ask the company for more doses.“
We must negotiate with them because in this situation we need more vaccine,” Sathit said.“We want 10 million doses because the original plan was 10 million doses,” he said referring to the previous monthly delivery target.
Thailand a day earlier said it was considering imposing limits on exports of locally manufactured AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to fight its own outbreak.
The country is suffering its worst CVOID-19 outbreak yet and reported a record 98 coronavirus deaths on Thursday taking total fatalities to 3,032 since the pandemic began last year.
The country’s COVID-19 taskforce also reported 9,186 new coronavirus cases, bringing total infections to 372,215.Thailand’s main vaccine rollout started last month and only about 5% of its more than 66 million people have been fully vaccinated.