Coronavirus (Covid-19)Northern Thailand

Lampang province sets example for vaccine registration

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 Fronde

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.

11 Comments

  1. Or a distrust in the government.

    My experience in this country tells me that the “disinterested” in helping people outside family and close friends, is close to none here. Which is understandable, coming the lack of a history with ruling parties showing the ability cross social and economic boarders.

  2. ‘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.’

    — It takes time to work its magic, let us know in a few months how you’re feeling.

  3. Offer the Thais something if they have the vaccine.
    How about a packet of Taro Fish Strips? They would be queuing around the block for the vaccine.
    On Delhi train station, they offered a transistor radio for anyone who would have a vasectomy snip. It was only temporary.
    My pal who was passing through missed out and did not get the radio.
    He said he had a train to catch. He always was slow at grabbing an opportunity.

  4. “In the northern province [Lampang] nearly 224,000 have already registered for their Covid-19 vaccine …”

    How is it possible for “nearly 224,000” to have “already registered” when according to the same report only 212,000 are eligible to register?

    That’s a 105% registration, even though some who are “eligible” will have already been vaccinated as “health officials and their families [and] retired civil servants” so it’s nearer to a 110% registration.

    The numbers just don’t add up.

    Literally.

    (“Of these, about 190,000 are aged 60-plus and 22,000 have been diagnosed with chronic conditions”)

  5. “The figures show that the public is either distrustful of vaccines or disinterested in being vaccinated to help reopen the country.”

    Why “either” / “or”?

    Why not both, plus any number of other reasons?

    I don’t know any Thais (or farangs) who “trust” Sinovax or who think it’s effective – the WHO obviously don’t think it is, and it’s now proving ineffective in the UAE and the Seychelles.

    Nor do I know any Thais who want to be “vaccinated to help reopen the country.”

    That’s not because they’re “disinterested”, but because they’re interested but do NOT want to “reopen the country” to anyone until they’ve been offered a vaccine they can not only trust not to have side effects but to be effective.

  6. @Me Two – Well you see this is the Thai scamming instinct appearing.
    The vaccine is free, so the Thai wants it, and if he sneakily registers twice, in maybe a false name, he receives an extra vaccine.
    Obvious really for those that understands the Thai mentality.

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