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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Lampang province sets example for vaccine registration

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Vaccine hesitancy is hampering Thailand's quest for herd immunity. (via Pixnio/Freepix)

Vaccine hesitancy is proving to be a big problem in the quest to reach herd immunity and reopen Thailand, but Lampang province has outdone all the others in jab registration. In the northern province with just 740,000 people, nearly 224,000 have already registered for their Covid-19 vaccine, a number only topped by Bangkok’s 7 million residents registering just over 500,000 appointments. In fact, Nontha Buri is third-ranked with less than a quarter of the number of registered vaccine appointment that Lampang has, and only 22 of Thailand’s 77 provinces registered more than 10,000 people.

The low registration numbers is a disappointing setback in Thailand rush to achieve a 70% vaccinated population necessary for reaching herd immunity. The figures show that the public is either distrustful of vaccines or disinterested in being vaccinated to help reopen the country.

The chief medical officer for Lampang credits their success to a vaccine rollout that started with public health officials and health volunteers, and then progressed to their relatives and then on to the public. Along with the health officials and their families, the jabs were given to retired civil servants to send out the message that while occasional side effects may occur, they were rare and local medical facilities were prepared to address any negative reaction to vaccines.

The vaccinated medical personnel were able to reach out and educate residents and show that they personally experienced no negative side effects from being vaccinated. This education and awareness plan has been ongoing for several months in the province with door-knocking in neighbourhoods to reassure people and help them book vaccine appointment. Lampang also took proactive steps online by launching their own Lampang Prom system that was later dovetailed into the national Mor Prom Line account in order to sidestep rollout snafus.

The vaccine messaging was further bolstered by a 10 line call centre to help people make their appointments online. Divisions of the hospital that were underused due to Covid-19 like social medicine, dental, rehabilitation, and PR were able to provide staffing for the call centre from 8 am to midnight.

This preparedness and education of residents have served Lampang well, and it is hoped that other provinces learn from their example and start getting the Thai population registered to vaccinate Thailand’s way to herd immunity.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

 

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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