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Govt stockpiles drugs as private jabs loom

Medicine for treating Covid-19 is being stockpiled with more being bought amid the third outbreak which has infected more than 4,000 people, said the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO).

The GPO has ordered the stockpiling of Favipiravir with the drug now reserved for treating Covid-19 sufferers and being distributed to medical facilities to ensure they receive a constant supply.

As of Monday, the GPO had 411,200 Favipiravir tablets in its stock with half a million more on order.

Meanwhile, privately-imported vaccines from three manufacturers may be made available sometime in the latter half of the year for around 2,000 baht a dose, according to Dr Aurchart Kanjanapitak, chairman of Ramkhamhaeng Hospital.

Dr Aurchart said yesterday that people outside the at-risk groups would probably be able to buy immunisation privately using one of three vaccines that have a chance of being made available domestically later this year.

Two are being produced by US-based Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and Moderna, while the third is Russia’s Sputnik V. The likely cost per shot would be around 2,000 baht, he said.

J&J has registered its single-dose Covid-19 vaccine with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — the first shipment is expected around October and will be sold to private hospitals. They would have to insure against any risks or side-effects associated with its administration, according to Dr Aurchart.

The GPO is also likely to import the Moderna vaccine, although the vaccine has not yet been registered with the FDA. If and when the registration is complete, it is expected to arrive in Thailand in August.

Also not registered is the Sputnik V formula and it remains unclear who will be its importer. Dr Aurchart said, however, it was possible the process of registration and importation could be expedited so its use could begin in early June.

Department of Disease Control director-general Opas Karnkawinpong yesterday insisted the national vaccination programme was progressing as planned with the latest batch of one million Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine doses having arrived last week.

The vaccine will undergo quality checks before being distributed to all 77 provinces.

Reference