Prayuth said he wanted to "boost confidence for the general public" in the vaccine, which is being shunned because of a possible tie to blood clots in other parts of the world.
The Thai leader initially planned to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine Friday, but Thailand suspended a rollout after reports of the clots.. AstraZeneca said only 37 cases of blood clots were reported after 17 million people had been vaccinated in Europe.
Members of the World Health Organization on Tuesday backed the AstraZeneca vaccine. More than a dozen countries have suspended the use of the vaccine, although Australia, Britain and Thailand are moving ahead with it.— The New York Times (@nytimes) March 16, 2021
Latest vaccine updates: https://t.co/EPQxx6paot pic.twitter.com/EpLilDwd47
On Friday Prayuth canceled his initial vaccine appointment. According to the Financial Times, reporters were apprised of the postponement only after they had gathered at the health ministry. The government cited concerns over "side effects or adverse symptoms," the report said.
"To slow down or to pause vaccinations to investigate is common medical practice," Thailand's Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said on Facebook.
Several European countries have suspended use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, but Thailand is relying on the drugmaker for inoculations.
Bangkok is to receive 61 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. China's Sinovac is supplying another 2 million doses, according to the Financial Times.
The agreement with AstraZeneca includes a tech transfer. Thailand's Siam Bioscience is to manufacture the AstraZeneca vaccine domestically, but the agreement has come under criticism.
In January opposition politician Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit said the tech transfer benefits Thailand's royal family.
European nations are suspending AstraZeneca’s vaccine. Thailand just gave it a vote of confidence https://t.co/qh7lLzL2nm— FORTUNE (@FortuneMagazine) March 16, 2021
Siam Bioscience is royal-owned, and King Maha Vajiralongkorn's massive wealth has come under scrutiny since 2020, when protesters demanded he give up control of his assets, estimated to be worth tens of billions of dollars.
Thailand's AstraZeneca vaccines arrived from South Korea, according to Thai PBS World.
Copyright © UPI, 2022. All Rights Reserved.