Thailand denies blocking exports of AstraZeneca vaccines

June 14, 2021 - 12:52 PM
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Vials labelled "Astra Zeneca COVID-19 Coronavirus Vaccine" and a syringe are seen in front of a displayed AstraZeneca logo, in this illustration photo taken March 14, 2021. (Reuters/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo)

BANGKOK — 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 on Friday Taiwan had ordered 10 million doses from AstraZeneca , which was mainly producing them in Thailand, but Thailand was “giving priority for vaccines to be used in Thailand”.

“Thailand is not blocking exports of AstraZeneca,” deputy government spokesperson 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 week 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.

READ: Thailand’s first AstraZeneca vaccine exports to Philippines delayed, government adviser says

AstraZeneca’s distribution plans in Southeast 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. —Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng Editing by Robert Birsel