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AstraZeneca vows to provide COVID-19 vaccine for SEA nations on schedule

Vaccine producer AstraZeneca affirmed on June 28 that it is on schedule to meet its commitments to supplying COVID-19 vaccine for Southeast Asia, after some initial delays in regional production and delivery.

The British/Swedish company said Thailand, which is manufacturing its vaccine locally, will receive its agreed quota of 6 million doses within this month, while export to other Southeast Asian countries will start in early July.

In a statement, AstraZeneca Thailand said that its partner Siam Bioscience, owned by King Maha Vajiralongkorn, will produce 180 million doses this year, just over a third for Thailand and two thirds for others in Southeast Asia.

Thailand’s mass vaccination drive relies heavily on the AstraZeneca vaccine. The country has also used Sinovac Biotech’s vaccine, with 10.5 million doses received so far and 37 million on order.

Its health ministry on the same day said two doses of the Sinovac vaccine was shown to be 95 percent effective in reducing instances of mortality and severe symptoms, based on its real-world data study.

The same day, Indonesia’s COVID-19 task force also recommended the vaccine made by China’s Sinovac Biotech for children above 12, as the country seeks to extend inoculation amid a surge in infections.

Indonesia has reported a record daily rise of more than 20,000 cases recently after the emergence of virus variants and travel after the Muslim fasting month has helped drive a new wave of infections.

The country has been using Sinovac as the main plank for its vaccination programme after receiving about 94 million doses, while it has received about 10 million made by AstraZeneca and Sinopharm.

Task force data shows children aged 0-18 account for 12.6 percent of Indonesia's total COVID-19 infections.