Delivery to the Philippines of the first batches of a promised 17 million doses of Thai-made AstraZeneca vaccines has been delayed by several weeks and reduced in size, a Philippine presidential adviser said.
The delay raises questions about AstraZeneca’s vaccine distribution plan in Southeast Asia, which depends on 200 million doses made in Thailand by Siam Bioscience, a company owned by the country’s king that is making vaccines for the first time.
It was not immediately clear if other countries slated to received Thai vaccine exports would be affected by similar delays.
AstraZeneca and Siam Bioscience did not immediately reply to questions about production at the Thai plant.
Inside Thailand, questions about Siam Bioscience meeting production targets are extremely sensitive because the King is sole owner of the company. Insulting Thailand’s monarchy is a crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison.