Thailand to distribute 8.5 million antigen test kits in high risk areas
The Government Pharmaceutical Organization will be signing the supply agreement for 8.5 million COVID-19 antigen test kits from Lepu Medical on Monday, following a recent change to the Cabinet’s directive to lift the WHO certification requirement.
The Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) will be signing a contract with Ostland Capital on Monday to supply 8.5 million COVID-19 antigen test kits from Chinese manufacturer Lepu Medical Technology.
This procurement, where the GPO is acting on behalf of the National Health Security Office (NHSO), has faced some backlash, as test kits from this particular manufacturer have been recalled in some countries, including the United States.
Such criticism prompted the Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha to issue a directive for the GPO to procure only test kits certified by the World Health Organization (WHO), however this requirement has recently been lifted, saying the WHO has yet to approve any of the home use test kits.
After the signing of the contract on Monday, Ostland Capital will need to supply the kits according to the timeframe set in the contract. The kits will then be distributed to the general public in high risk areas at no cost for self-tests.
The NHSO has stated they are ready to distribute the test kits to the general public imminently, with a particular focus on densely populated communities.
The kits will also be distributed to pharmacies and public health facilities within the NHSO network, to give people more access to COVID-19 tests.
Tests using these antigen test kits by primary care staff will also be available at healthcare facilities. People who test negative, but are considered at high risk, will receive a take home test kit to take another test by themselves at home. (NNT)