Sunday, February 28, 2021

Thai hospital ordered to stop selling Covid-19 vaccinations in advance

No vaccine has yet been authorised for use in Thailand.

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A Thai private hospital was ordered on Sunday to stop advertising Covid-19 vaccinations for sale in advance.

Vibhavadi Hospital in Bangkok, told Reuters its online offer for 1,000 initial reservations for the two-dose Moderna vaccine had been the result of a misunderstanding.

The 350-bed hospital had advertised reservations for vaccinations later in 2021. The total cost of getting vaccinated was shown as 10,000 baht (RM1,350).

The health ministry said in a statement that no Covid-19 vaccine has been approved for use in Thailand yet and that advertising one violated hospital regulations.

Following the ministry’s statement, Chaisit Kupwiwat, a director at the hospital, told Reuters, “There was a misunderstanding. We planned to order the vaccines, but now we’ve stopped.”

As the first governments begin vaccine rollouts around the world, people are asking how the limited supplies are being prioritised and whether people will be able to pay to jump the queue.

Thailand has signed an advance deal for AstraZeneca’s potential vaccine, but has not yet set rollout plans for any brand.

Moderna’s vaccine this month became the second to get emergency use authorisation from the US Food and Drug Administration, following the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Moderna has said it will deliver approximately 20 million doses to the US government this year and is expected to have between 100 million and 125 million delivered globally in the first quarter of 2021.

In August, Moderna said it was pricing its vaccine at US$32 (RM130) to US$37 (RM150) per dose for smaller deals.

Thailand is a major medical tourism destination, drawing patients from around the world.

On Sunday, Thailand recorded 121 new cases of Covid-19 infection, according to the Centre for the Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

The new cases included 94 local infections, 18 Myanmar migrant workers in Samut Sakhon, a province near Bangkok where a cluster was discovered last week, and nine imported cases, CCSA’s spokesman Taweesin Visanuyothin said.

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