The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines that Thailand ordered from China's Sinovac Biotech arrived in the capital Bangkok Wednesday, putting the country on track to kickstart its national inoculation program.
The 200,000 doses, the first shipment among 2 million doses Thailand ordered from the Chinese biopharmaceutical firm, were delivered by a Thai Airways International cargo flight from Beijing to Bangkok.
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, as well as Chinese Embassy official Yang Xin were at the airport for the handover of the vaccines.
Thailand approved the Sinovac vaccine for emergency use on Monday, and the authorization will be valid for one year, according to Anutin.
Upon the vaccines' arrival, three days would be required for the final inspection before the national vaccination campaign begins, Prayut has said.
The first batch of the Sinovac vaccines will be distributed to 13 provinces and administered to at-risk groups, including medical workers, close contacts with COVID-19 patients and people with certain chronic illnesses.
A second batch of 800,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccines is scheduled to arrive in Thailand next month, followed by a third batch of the remaining 1 million doses.