Thailand denies blocking exports of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines

AstraZeneca's distribution plans in South-east Asia depends on 200 million doses made by Thai producer Siam Bioscience.
AstraZeneca's distribution plans in South-east Asia depends on 200 million doses made by Thai producer Siam Bioscience.PHOTO: REUTERS

BANGKOK (REUTERS) - Thailand is not blocking exports of the AstraZeneca vaccine, a government representative said, after Taiwan said Thailand was keeping for itself doses of the vaccine that it is producing.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said last Friday (June 11) Taiwan had ordered 10 million doses from AstraZeneca, which was mainly producing them in Thailand, but Bangkok was "giving priority for vaccines to be used in Thailand".

"Thailand is not blocking exports of AstraZeneca," deputy government spokesman Traisuree Taisaranakul said on Twitter, late on Saturday.

"It is a matter for the producer to manage," she said.

She did not specify whether she meant AstraZeneca or the Thai manufacturer, Siam Bioscience. The health ministry could not be reached on Sunday and both companies have declined to comment on reasons for export delays.

Both Thailand and Taiwan have seen a surge of coronavirus cases in recent weeks, after months of successfully keeping their outbreaks in check.

The Philippines said this month it was expecting delays of AstraZeneca's Thai-made vaccines due to production delays.

Malaysia also said it was expecting delays.

AstraZeneca's distribution plans in South-east Asia depends on 200 million doses made by Siam Bioscience, a company owned by Thailand's king that is making vaccines for the first time.