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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Confusion, delayed appointments, and finger pointing: Thailand’s vaccine rollout in disarray

Maya Taylor



PHOTO: Facebook/PR Thai Government

It seems it’s all turned into a bit of a shambles. Only a week after the government’s national vaccine rollout kicked off to great pomp and ceremony at Bangkok’s Bang Sue Grand Station, it has already run into problems. The Bangkok Post reports that both public and private hospitals are postponing appointments, saying they haven’t been given enough vaccines.

The response from the government has been to deflect and finger point, with the Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul blaming the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and the BMA blaming the Health Ministry.

Meanwhile, Kiattiphum Wongrachit from the Health Ministry admits the country has received far fewer vaccine doses than it expected this month. The shortfall has prompted hospitals to postpone appointments, with most of those affected being the elderly and people with underlying health conditions, who booked through the Mor Prom app. One Bangkok hospital took to social media to suggest where the blame should lie.

“If you have any questions about this (postponement), please contact our call centre or contact the public health minister (directly) and ask why this lack of readiness has occurred.”

According to the Bangkok Post report, Anutin used a television interview to blame the BMA, saying that his ministry had agreed to provide 1 million doses to City Hall and 500,000 have already been delivered.

“Please don’t say the ministry isn’t doing anything because it already has distributed all vaccine supplies received from the suppliers to eligible parties as instructed by the CCSA and on time.”

The BMA was swift to retaliate, saying the Health Ministry had pledged to provide 2.5 million AstraZeneca doses, of which only 350,000 have been delivered, in addition to 150,000 Sinovac doses.

The Rural Doctors Society has also jumped into the fray, laying the blame squarely with PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, as head of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration. The society has previously criticised the government for the lack of transparency surrounding vaccine supply issues and over the weekend called on officials to be honest with the people.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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