High maintenance storage should not hinder vaccine use: WHO
The troublesome storing conditions of some candidate coronavirus vaccines and the associated high costs should not discourage countries from adopting them as an immunization means, Kate O’Brien, the director for Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals at the World Health Organization (WHO), said on Friday.
“Every country is going to have to work very hard and is going to have to innovate around systems to actually deliver vaccines that do have an ultra-cold chain. And part of the approach that many countries may take is to choose to use vaccines that require an ultra-cold chain for only certain portions of the population that need to be vaccinated,” O’Brien said at a virtual briefing.
As an example, she said such vaccines could be used to inoculate health care workers at facilities in which installing a freezer with ultra-low temperatures would not be an issue.
Thailand inks deal with AstraZeneca
Thailand on Friday signed a deal to procure 26 million doses of the trial coronavirus vaccine developed by pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca in collaboration with Oxford University.
It is expected to be delivered in mid-2021. The doses would cover 13 million people in a population of about 69 million.
Thailand’s National Vaccine Institute signed a non-refundable advance market commitment contract worth 2.38 billion baht (USD 79 million) with AstraZeneca to reserve the supply of the vaccine candidate.
Another 3.67 billion-baht (USD 121 million) agreement for the purchase of the trial vaccine, known as AZD1222, was signed by the Health Ministry’s Disease Control Department. “We have followed the vaccine manufacturers globally, but this group has achieved very high progress,” Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said at the signing.