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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Government urged to clarify private hospitals’ vaccination role

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Mufid Majnun for Unsplash

The government is being urged to clarify whether private hospitals can administer Covid-19 vaccines to employees. According to a Bangkok Post report, the Employers’ Confederation of Thai Trade and Industry, also known as EconThai, says the government needs to eliminate the legal barriers preventing private hospitals from vaccinating workers.

Last week, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha said workers under Section 33 of the Social Security Act would be prioritised for vaccination. Section 33 covers employees under the age of 60 and there are thought to be around 11 million workers in this category. While the business sector supports the drive, Tanit Sorat from EconThai says the government needs to allow private hospitals to take part and legal obstacles mean they are reluctant to do so.

“There is currently no progress because private hospitals have declined to take part.”

The Bangkok Post reports that, as far as the hospitals are concerned, they fear they may be held responsible for any side-effects experienced by employees. They are seeking confirmation that the government will take responsibility, with Tanit saying authorities must confirm their endorsement of private hospitals as part of the national vaccine rollout.

“If the government makes an official announcement, private hospitals will reinforce the state’s plan to speed up vaccine rollout to build herd immunity in Thailand.”

Nonthachai Panyasurarit from the Social Security Office says the vaccination of employees will kick off next month and that up to 80 hospitals across the country are willing to assist. He adds that the PM views Section 33 workers as vital to the economy, but many are at risk of contracting Covid-19 due to having to interact regularly with clients.

It’s understood that private hospitals are also willing to help the government control the spread of the virus in factory environments. A cluster of 369 infections was recently confirmed at a factory on an industrial estate in the central province of Samut Prakan, bringing to 988 the total number of infections on industrial estates since the start of the pandemic.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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