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Health Ministry insists donated Pfizer doses will go to medical workers first, not VIPs



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Thailand’s Health Ministry has dismissed rumours that healthcare workers will get just 200,000 of the 1.5 million Pfizer doses donated by the US. Rungrueng Kijphati says 500,000 doses are being reserved as booster shots for the country’s healthcare workers. He says doses are expected to arrive later this month and administration will begin in August.

“It is not true that some of the Pfizer vaccine are earmarked for VIPs. The vaccines are for health workers and at-risk groups. VIPs are not a priority.”

Rungrueng was responding to allegations made by a cardiologist from the Faculty of Medicine at Chiang Mai University. According to a Bangkok Post, Rungsrit Kanjanavanit claims to have learned at a meeting that the government will only give 200,000 of the 1.5 million Pfizer doses to frontline healthcare workers.

“As a cardiologist with a moderate risk of contracting the virus, I’m not planning on getting a booster shot just yet. I can live with this low immunity (from the 2 shots of Sinovac) and will wait until there are enough vaccine supplies for all. But if the 300,000 missing doses (of the Pfizer vaccine) end up being given to VIPs and their relatives, I wouldn’t be OK with that.”

However, Rungrueng has hit back at the allegations, adding that while the Pfizer shots have not yet arrived, some healthcare workers have opted for AstraZeneca as a booster.

“Those who chose to get the AstraZeneca vaccine (as a booster shot) made the decision on their own, without anyone forcing them to.”

The Bangkok Post reports that most of the country’s healthcare workers have been inoculated with 2 doses of the Chinese Sinovac vaccine, but concerns remain over its efficacy against the Delta variant.

Meanwhile, calls are mounting for the government to provide full disclosure of its vaccine import efforts. Several academics and media outlets say such information is vital to restoring public confidence and are calling for all signed contracts, negotiations, and proposals to be made available for the sake of transparency.

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SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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