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Geopolitics, domestic sentiment shape region’s Covid-19 vaccine race

BANGKOK – Thailand looked like it was ahead in the regional scramble for a coronavirus vaccine in October when it announced a local firm would manufacture the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for domestic use and distribution to nearby countries.

But with a locally produced vaccine months away while local transmissions grew over the new year, Thailand sought to boost its initial reservation of 26 million doses. It ordered 35 million more, and supplemented that with two million doses of vaccine from China’s Sinovac Biotech. The first batches of British and Chinese-made vaccines are expected to arrive next month.

Neighbouring Cambodia levelled up with some help from close ally China, which pledged to gift it one million doses of vaccine. According to local media, the first 300,000 doses from China’s Sinopharm are also expected to arrive next month.

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