Tue, 2021-06-01 10:29

MANILA: Delivery to the Philippines of the first batches of a promised 17 million doses of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine made in Thailand has been delayed by several weeks, a Philippine presidential adviser said on Tuesday.

The delay raises questions about AstraZeneca’s vaccine distribution plan in Southeast Asia, which depend on 200 million doses made by Siam Bioscience, a company owned by Thailand’s king that is making vaccines for the first time.

Joey Concepcion, a presidential adviser who has been coordinating vaccine procurement with the Philippine government and private sector, told Reuters that AstraZeneca had told him delivery of the first batch of 1.3 million doses would have to be pushed back from the third week of June to mid-July and also reduced to 1.17 million doses.

AstraZeneca and Siam Bioscience did not immediately reply to questions about production at the Thai plant.

Concepcion said he was in touch daily with AstraZeneca and was told there were delays in Thai production.

“It is a new plant they are running … that is how it is when you start a new plant,” he said.

The second batch of 1.3 million would also be reduced to 1.17 million and has been moved from July to August delivery, Concepcion said. (Reporting by Karen Lema; Writing by Kay Johnson; Editing by Martin Petty)

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