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Thai Airways International, Thailand's national carrier, will now be tasked with transporting 200,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine from China to Bangkok next week. The first Covid-19 vaccine to be administered in the Kingdom will be the CoronaVac jab from the Chinese manufacturer, Sinovac.
Thai Nation Thailand reports that on February 24, Thai Airways flight TG675 will take off from Beijing at 6.50 am local time, landing at 11.05 am in Bangkok. The first 200,000 vaccine doses will be on board, out of a total of 2 million ordered by the government. The vaccine will be understood to be transported in temperature-controlled containers and can be stored at normal temperatures in the fridge.
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul has confirmed February 24 as "D Day" for the arrival of the vaccine, under increasing pressure to accelerate the country's planned vaccine rollout. He says the jab for emergency use will be approved by the Food and Drug Administration, with priority going to frontline health care workers and other vulnerable groups.
There are also 61 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine waiting for the government. A procurement row between the manufacturer and the EU has, however, hampered delivery, with AstraZeneca stating that vaccine doses may be sent from a plant in Asia instead of from Italy as originally planned.