The cabinet on Tuesday approved THB1 billion (US$32 million) to fund the development and manufacture of coronavirus vaccines in a bid to boost confidence domestically and tourists to come back to the country.
Government spokeswoman Traisuree Taisaranakul said after yesterday’s cabinet meeting that the money, drawn from budgeted emergency funds, would support the National Vaccine Institute and related agencies in producing COVID-19 vaccines for public use.
Although Thailand has not reported a case of domestic transmission in over three months, the Ministry of Public Health said that the virus remains a great concern and a “second wave” threatens to strike at any time. Thailand as of Tuesday had logged 3,402 infections and 58 deaths since the pandemic began in January.
Vaccines are in development around the world, though there is no consensus on how to make available those that end up being approved.
According to Traisulee, accelerating the availability of a vaccine would benefit the battered economy and moribund tourism it relies on heavily. The spokesperson also said the money could be used to rush any vaccine into mass production earlier than expected.
Vaccine candidates began testing on monkeys in June with human trials expected to begin in October.
This article, Thailand puts THB1 billion toward vaccine to boost confidence, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!