Thai hospital banned from offer to sell COVID-19 vaccine
By Chayut Setboonsarng and Panarat Thepgumpanat
BANGKOK, December 27 (Reuters). A private Thai hospital was ordered Sunday to stop advertising COVID-19 vaccinations for sale as no vaccine is yet approved in Thailand.
Vibhavadi Hospital told Reuters that their online offering of 1,000 first-time reservations for the two-dose Moderna vaccine was due to a misunderstanding. With reservations at 4,000 baht, the total cost of the vaccination would have been 10,000 baht ($ 330 USD).
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When the first governments around the world began adopting vaccines, questions were raised about how the limited supplies were prioritized and whether people could pay to jump in line.
The Ministry of Health said in a statement that a COVID-19 vaccine has not yet been approved for use in Thailand and that advertising a vaccine is against hospital regulations.
"The removal of the advertising was ordered," it said.
Chaisit Kupwiwat, a director of Vibhavadi Hospital, told Reuters, "There was a misunderstanding and so we stopped the program ... We wanted to order the vaccines, but now we've stopped."
The hospital had requested reservations for vaccinations during 2021 by January 31.
Moderna did not immediately respond to an email request for comment on such a sale.
Thailand has signed an upfront agreement for AstraZeneca's potential COVID-19 vaccine, but has not yet established any rollout plans for a vaccine.
Moderna's vaccine was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as the second emergency vaccine this month, after the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine.
Moderna has announced it will ship approximately 20 million doses to the U.S. government this year and it is expected to ship between 100 and 125 million doses worldwide in the first quarter of 2021.
In August, Moderna announced that the vaccine was priced at between $ 32 and $ 37 per dose on smaller deals.
Thailand is a major hub for medical tourism, drawing patients from Asia, the Middle East and beyond. (Additional reporting by Jiraporn Kuhakan; writing by Matthew Tostevin; editing by Jason Neely)
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