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Health Ministry says border guards will be prioritised for Covid vaccines

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Thailand’s Health Ministry says border guards will be prioritised for Covid-19 vaccines, due to the risk of Burmese refugees fleeing into the Kingdom to escape violence in Myanmar. Since a February 1 military coup in the neighbouring country, the situation has deteriorated rapidly, with thousands of villagers crossing into the northern province of Mae Hong Son at the weekend. They were reportedly forced to flee after the military launched air strikes on a village in the southeastern Karen state.

Opas Karnkawinpong from the Department of Disease Control says the government’s Covid-19 task force has agreed to send vaccine supplies to police officers and members of the Thai military who are guarding the borders to prevent the illegal entry of migrants. He says border officers are considered a high-risk group due to their regular contact with migrants fleeing Myanmar.

The Thai army has been asked to provide details of how many patrol guards are involved, so an appropriate number of vaccine doses can be sent. Opas adds that the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation plans to provide around 800,000 doses of the Chinese Sinovac vaccine to those on duty at the border.

Meanwhile, according to a Bangkok Post report, Kiattiphum Wongrajit from the Public Health Ministry has ordered border hospitals in 10 provinces to get ready for a possible influx of Burmese refugees. Thailand’s Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul says he has held talks with a Thai military commander on the subject of Burmese people forced to flee their country. He says Thai soldiers are on duty to prevent migrants illegally entering Thailand, adding that they will be taken to special shelters in the border areas.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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