Khairy: Delivery of Thai-made AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines delayed

A vial of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in Paris March 11, 2021. — AFP pic
A vial of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in Paris March 11, 2021. — AFP pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, June 9 ― Malaysia is expecting deliveries of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines manufactured in Thailand to be delayed, its science minister said today, among several countries to report a holdup with orders from the Thai plant.

Science minister Khairy Jamaluddin did not specify to reporters how long the deliveries would be delayed or how many shipments would be affected.

The delay comes amid questions over AstraZeneca's vaccine distribution plan in Southeast Asia, which depends on 200 million doses made by Siam Bioscience, a company owned by Thailand's king that is making vaccines for the first time.

AstraZeneca has so far handed over 1.8 million locally produced doses to Thai authorities and last week said more were on the way during June, but deliveries to other Southeast Asian countries would begin in July.

Siam Bioscience did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

The first delivery to the Philippines, which was promised 17 million doses, was reduced and postponed by several weeks, a Philippine presidential advisor told Reuters last week, citing Thai production delays.

Malaysia was due to receive its first shipment of 610,000 doses from Thailand this month, followed by 410,000 doses in July and 1.2 million doses between August and September, the government has said previously.

Malaysia has purchased 12.8 million doses of AstraZeneca's vaccine, half through the Covax vaccine-share facility and the remainder directly from the drugmaker. ― Reuters

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