Thailand says Moderna to apply for COVID-19 vaccine approval this month

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A detail view of a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine box at a vaccination site at the Esports Stadium Arlington & Expo Center in Arlington, Texas, U.S. February 12, 2021. REUTERS/Cooper Neill

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BANGKOK, March 11 (Reuters) - Moderna (MRNA.O) will submit to Thailand its application for approval for its COVID-19 vaccine this month, a health official said on Thursday, as the country gets ready for its mass vaccination drive.

Surachoke Tangwiwat, a senior Food and Drug Administration (FDA) official, told Reuters that in addition to Moderna, India's Bharat Biotech had started sending documents for registration of its vaccine.

Bharat Biotech's vaccine showed interim efficacy of 81% in late-stage clinical trials, the firm said this month.

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The FDA is expected to reach a decision this month on the vaccine of Johnson and Johnson (JNJ.N), Surachoke said.

Thailand has so far has approved the vaccines of Sinovac Biotech (SVA.O) and AstraZeneca (AZN.L).

It has administered about 36,000 of the 200,000 recently received doses of Sinovac's CoronaVac. Another 800,000 doses are due to arrive on March 25, for use mainly among health workers and high-risk groups.

Thailand, which has recorded just over 26,500 coronavirus infections and 85 fatalities, has also received 117,300 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and his cabinet will be inoculated with on Friday.

Thailand from June will manufacture that vaccine locally, for regional distribution, with 61 million doses reserved so far for its mass immunisation drive.

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Reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat; Writing by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Martin Petty

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