Prayut Postpones Inaugural COVID Jab, Cites ‘Paperwork Issue’
BANGKOK — The inaugural shot of COVID-19 vaccine will not be administered to PM Prayut Chan-o-cha as planned due to missing paperwork for the AstraZeneca vaccine shipment, a source at Government House said.
Prayut was scheduled to receive the inaugural jab on Sunday, but the source said the much publicized stunt will no longer take place, since regulators have yet to receive necessary documents from AstraZeneca for domestic use.
Although the Food and Drug Administration said it greenlit the vaccine’s use in Thailand back in January, the shipment was sent to Thailand on Wednesday via South Korea and therefore required additional paperwork, according to the source.
An official at the Secretariat of the Prime Minister also confirmed that PM Prayut will not be receiving the shot tomorrow, without citing any reason.
Thailand has received 200,000 doses of vaccine developed by Sinovac and 117,000 from AstraZeneca so far.
Healthcare officials already ruled out the possibility of Prayut receiving a shot by Sinovac, since the lot is only reserved for those under the age of 60 due to health concerns. The Prime Minister is 66, well above the threshold.
The vaccine drive, using Sinovac doses, is expected to kick off on Monday, more than 2 weeks behind the original schedule pledged by the government. Those eligible for the first round of inoculation include frontline health workers, vulnerable populations in provinces with high numbers of coronavirus infections, and hospitality workers.
The government pandemic center reported 72 new confirmed infections on Friday, bringing the total virus tally to 25,764, with 83 fatalities.