AstraZeneca increases COVID-19 vaccine supply to Thailand after row – Reuters

Vials labelled “Astra Zeneca COVID-19 Coronavirus Vaccine” and a syringe are seen in front of a displayed AstraZeneca logo, in this illustration photo taken March 14, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

BANGKOK, Nov 2 (Reuters) – AstraZeneca Plc (AZN.L) provided Thailand 10.5 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine last month, the firm said on Tuesday, months after an official said the government was considering curbing exports from its local plant because of lower supplies.

Thailand had been pushing for 10 million doses each month to be able to fight back against coronavirus infections in the country of about 66 million people.

James Teague, managing director of AstraZeneca Thailand, said that the company had increased batchwise vaccine production by a fifth at its plant, from 580,000 doses to on average 700,000.

“This means more doses than anticipated are being produced in Thailand to help vaccinate people across the country and region,” he said in a statement.

AstraZeneca is also committed to supplying shots to Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Taiwan and Malaysia, some of whom have had higher caseloads than Thailand.

Teague said the firm has so far delivered 35.1 million doses to Thailand as part of its promise of 61 million doses by end-2021. The company will also import from its other supply chains to boost stocks, he said.

October was the first time AstraZeneca’s supplies to Thailand topped 10 million doses, the amount Thai officials had claimed the country was owed per month.

A senior Thai official had warned in July Thailand could regulate exports if domestic supplies fell short.

Leaked letters, however, showed that AstraZeneca had told Thailand it should be able to supply around 6 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine per month.

AstraZeneca’s local manufacturing partner, Siam Bioscience, is owned by the country’s king.

Earlier this year, a former opposition politician was charged with the crime of defaming the Thai monarchy over his comments on the king’s company.

Reporting by Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani

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