BANGKOK — Thailand plans to purchase 35 million more doses of COVID-19 vaccines on top of the 65 million it has already contracted amid criticism of a slow start of the vaccination campaign.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s announcement on his Facebook comes as Thailand is battling a third wave of infections that has resulted in record daily cases. Health authorities on Wednesday announced 1,458 new confirmed cases and two deaths, bringing the totals to 46,643 cases including 110 deaths.
Prayuth’s administration has been sharply criticized for failing to secure enough vaccines, with only about 2 million doses from AstraZeneca and China’s Sinovac delivered so far and most of the remainder due starting in June.
Only about 1% of Thailand’s 69 million people have received at least one dose.
Prayuth’s post says the additional doses would be purchased from two or three more companies, and 10 million to 15 million of those would be handled by the private sector. Prayuth said Tuesday the government is in talks with Pfizer for supply of 5 million to 10 million doses whose delivery would start in July and be completed by December.
The total of 100 million doses would be enough to inoculate 70% of Thailand’s population.