A healthcare worker holds a vial of the Moderna vaccine at a pop-up vaccination site operated by SOMOS Community Care in Manhattan in New York City on Jan 29 this year. (Reuters photo)
The first lot of half a million doses of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine will arrive in Thailand in two weeks, raising the question how they will be allocated between the two buyers.
ZP Therapeutics Co, a unit under Zuellig Pharma, issued a statement on Saturday on the update. The first shipment of 560,000 doses would arrive “no later than Nov 5”, read the statement.
This was the first time a specific date was given regarding the long-awaited delivery. Previously, the company broadly estimated its deliveries by quarter.
The firm also confirmed a total of 1.9 million doses would be delivered in the fourth quarter of this year. Another 6.8 million doses would arrive in the first quarter of next year, it said.
The American company also said it had applied to register a US-based manufacturing facility with Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration on Oct 20 to ensure uninterrupted deliveries of the vaccine to the country.
The news raised the question how the first batch would be allocated to the two groups – private hospitals and the Thai Red Cross Society. Both placed the orders through the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO) although the Red Cross is one of the few agencies authorised to buy the vaccine by itself.
The private hospitals took orders for the mRNA vaccine from people in June, charging them 3,300 baht for two doses.
Since the vaccine will come in batches, the the Private Hospitals Association said earlier they would allocate the quota they get from each lot to member hospitals — 10,000 shots each for all 227 hospitals in the first round and then proportionally based on their demands in the second round.
It is then up to each hospital to decide which customers get it first, but most use the first-payee system.
According to Zuellig statements and publicly available reports, Thailand has to date placed five orders for the Moderna vaccine.
The first was by the GPO for 5 million doses. Of them, 4 million were bought on behalf of the private hospitals and 1 million for the Red Cross. The GPO charges them 1,100 baht each for this order.
The Thai Red Cross Society said it would resell the vaccine to provincial organisations at cost (1,100 baht each) provided they administer them for free to vulnerable groups.
The second Moderna order was also placed by the GPO for 3.7 million doses on behalf of private hospitals. Not much detail is available for this order but it was beleived to be the second-generation of the vaccine.
Of these two contracts, 1.9 million doses will gradually arrive by the end of this year. The remaining 6.8 million doses will be delivered by the end of the first quarter of next year.
The third contract of 1 million doses was placed directly by the Red Cross without going through the GPO. It cost 940 million baht and paid for by the government’s central fund. Shipping begins early next year.
The fourth contract of 8 million half-doses (50mg) was placed directly by the Chulabhorn Royal Academy for use as the booster. The academy does not sell them directly to the public but charges interested companies and organisations 555 baht each.Internet Explorer Channel Network