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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Australian Embassy snubs Aussie expats but Australia donates 68 million baht for Thailand’s vaccine efforts

Tim Newton

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PHOTO: Australian PM Scott Morrison is vaccinated

The Australian Embassy in Thailand has responded to requests by Australians living in the Land Of Smiles that there will be no assistance for expats or other Australian citizens to be vaccinated in Thailand. Given the snail-pace response of the Thai Government and the age of some of the expats retired in the Kingdom, it was an important request. But the embassy responded with a normal ‘non’ answer…

“Australians here (Thailand) and in other countries around the world may be covered by the vaccine roll out program in their current location.”

Recently the Australian government announced that it had contributed 68 million baht to support Thailand’s vaccine program to ensure a swifter vaccination for Thai citizens.

“Australia is pleased to provide $2.8 million to support Thailand’s rollout of Covid-19 vaccines, as part of Australia’s regional Vaccine Access and Health Security Initiative.

This funding will go towards the provision of technical assistance from the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration and the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance.

It will also support the World Health Organisation in their work to improve vaccine-related data collection systems in Thailand and to develop communication strategies to improve understanding and acceptance of Covid-19 vaccines.

Thailand will also benefit from Australia’s broader support to the region, including $21 million to help establish the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases, and our $100 million commitment to support vaccine access and distribution in Southeast Asia, under the Quad Vaccine Partnership.”

The message from the Embassy is that the Australian government will happily provide assistance for Thai citizens get their vaccines faster but will not provide any support for expats or other Australian travellers in the country at this time.

Here’s the full response from The Australian Embassy regarding the request for assistance for expats…

“Australia’s Covid-19 vaccinations are being rolled out domestically to people in Australia. These vaccinations will only be available in Australia.

The Australian Embassy won’t be involved in delivering vaccines to Australians in Thailand. Australians here and in other countries around the world may be covered by the vaccine rollout program in their current location.

We will provide more information on access to Thailand’s vaccination program as soon as the Thai authorities clarify their approach. We currently do not have any information regarding other embassies coordinating vaccines for Australian residing in Thailand.

Under the Australian Covid-19 Vaccination Program, the Australian Government considers officials about to be deployed or currently deployed overseas on official government business as Critical and High Risk Workers under Phase 1b and has started to offer vaccines to eligible personnel. As an officer with the United Nations, if you believe that you may be covered under this category please discuss this with your employer and/or contact the Australian Department of Health for further advice.

If you are on Facebook, we also suggest following the “Australian Embassy, Thailand” page, where Ambassador McKinnon regularly posts Covid-19 video updates. These posts will continue to provide vaccine information as it becomes available. Additional information is also available the Covid-19 Vaccinations page on the Smartraveller website.

For up to date information regarding Australia’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout, and prioritisation schedule, please refer to the following website: Australian Government Department of Health

For further information on when and how the Australian Embassy can assist Australians living or travelling in Thailand, please refer to our Consular Service Charter. In addition, we strongly encourage Australians in Thailand to subscribe to travel advice for Thailand via the Smartraveller subscription service.”

So… no. They’ll make sure their consular staff and ‘officials’ are vaccinated, to hell with all the other Aussies living or working in Thailand. Given the vacillation of the Thai government, Australian citizens have turned to their Embassy for some help to receive the usual standard of assistance and advice.

The Australian government should be congratulated for their generous donation to the people of Thailand, however including their own citizens, especially the ones over 60 or with pre-existing conditions, in the deal would have been appropriate and useful at the time.

Respondents on the website Royal Coast Review had this to say…

“Australian government donating to Pacific and South East Asia partners but no mention of vaccines for Expats; but you can guarantee embassy staff etc get vaccinated.“

“Would be about time that the Australian Government considered it’s citizens overseas, those that in many cases paid taxes all their working lives and now are not given any consideration.”

“Time to support Australian Expats during this covid crisis with the supply of vaccines as so far there has been NO support for Expats from the Australian government.”

 

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Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2012. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for 41 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program, presented over 10,000 radio news bulletins, 3,900 in Thailand alone, hosted 650 daily TV news programs and produced 2,100 videos, TV commercials and documentaries. As founder of The Thaiger, Tim now acts as the Content Manager and head-writer, whilst supervising the growth of the YouTube channel. He's reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and other major stories in Thailand.

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