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Monday, September 20, 2021

Opposition MP sues Thai government over failed purchase of AstraZeneca

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An opposition Pheu Thai party MP has heavily criticized the government for not disclosing the details of the AstraZeneca purchase contract. Mr Yutthapong Charasathien demands that the Minister of Health, Mr Anutin Charnvirakul dismisses the head of the Ministry of Disease Control because of the shortcomings, accusing him of mismanaging the procurement and allocation of vaccines.

The Bangkok Post reports that Mr Yutthapong yesterday at a meeting on vaccine procurement in the parliament building called on the DDC to disclose the details of the AstraZeneca purchase agreement. His criticism comes as a leaked letter from AstraZeneca reveals that the Ministry of Health ordered just 3 million doses per month, far fewer than the government claims.

Mr Yutthapong also asks why the DDC continues to buy more Sinovac doses when studies have shown it to be less effective against mutations like the Delta variant. He says the DDC has received a 6.1 billion baht loan to buy Covid-19 vaccines, adding that a letter from the office of the National Council for Economic and Social Development suggested that vaccines other than the current ones are in use. would have to be bought to fight the Delta variant.

“That means no more Sinovac. I ask Mr. Anutin to sack the director-general of the DDC, because we cannot tolerate this kind of management and 6.1 billion baht is not peanuts. Despite the purchase of Sinovac, the department has not gained the public’s trust to provide them with effective protection against Covid-19.”

Meanwhile, the head of the DDC, Dr Grandfather Karnkawinpong responded, saying the letter suggested vaccines could be bought from other manufacturers at the same time, arguing that the DDC did this by signing a deal with Pfizer.

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