News analysis

Geopolitics, domestic sentiment shape region's Covid-19 vaccine race

A man preparing to spray disinfectant around Klong Toey fresh market, after it was temporarily shut down due to several vendors testing positive for Covid-19, in Bangkok on Jan 14, 2021.PHOTO: AFP

BANGKOK - Thailand looked like it was ahead in the regional scramble for a coronavirus vaccine in October when it announced a local firm would manufacture the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for domestic use and distribution to nearby countries.

But with a locally-produced vaccine months away while local transmissions grew over the new year, Thailand sought to boost its initial reservation of 26 million doses. It ordered 35 million more, and supplemented that with two million doses of vaccine from China's Sinovac Biotech. The first batches of British and Chinese-made vaccines are expected to arrive next month.

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