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Phuket businesses beg to allow import of private vaccines

Neill Fronde



PHOTO: Businesses beg for private vaccine importing to meet the July 1st vaccination deadline.

With the July 1 deadline for reopening to internationals travellers approaching and Covid-19 spreading rapidly, Phuket industry leaders are begging the Thai government to allow private importing of vaccines. Phuket’s sandbox plan required a 70% vaccinated resident policy, which looks unattainable, in order to allow tourism without quarantine again. With the pandemic spread across all 77 provinces now, vaccines that had been earmarked for Phuket may be rerouted to more urgent situations.

The Phuket Tourist Association understands this need but believes pushing to restart tourism to save the economy is vital also. So in response, private sector businesses are asking for approval to import vaccines on their own. Pledging to use their own budget and local administrative organisations, they await approval to proceed in vaccinating and reopening.

Tour operators, especially German and Scandinavian companies, want to resume operations in Thailand and start landing international flights in Phuket again, according to the Thailand Hotels Association Southern chapter. They insist it’s imperative to hold true to its announcement and show the world that Thailand is reliable for tourism again.

The Phuket Tourism Council, Phuket Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Phuket Industries, have all banded together with private companies and local government to support privatized vaccines. The Phuket Tourism Council said businesses had asked permission since January without approval, but many regions had already set aside funds to purchase vaccines, and even made contact with some foreign vaccine makers.

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha vowed yesterday to open the gates to the private sector helping the government to purchase, import, and distribute vaccines to the people of Thailand, and businesses in Phuket are pleading to allow them to vaccinate on their own so the 200,000 vaccines already administered aren’t in vain. With Sinovac and AstraZeneca currently available for import, and Johnson & Johnson recently gaining approval, plus Siam Bioscience producing the AstraZeneca vaccine here in Thailand, many criticize the government’s slow progress in vaccinating the population. Calls are growing to allow private importing, and Phuket businesses are ready to take up the charge.

SOURCE: Phuket News


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  1. Avatar


    Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 8:22 pm

    good luck…this would be great the the almighty powers that be won’t allow their pockets to be compromised

  2. Avatar

    David Pilkington

    Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 8:25 pm

    ‘ . . . Phuket industry leaders are begging the Thai government to allow private importing of vaccines. . . ‘ What the hell must these poor guys be thinking re their government’s performance? . . . ‘Prayut & Co need a good shaking’, or stronger I guess.

    You have to feel sorry for them, especially with having made their July 1 plans.

  3. Avatar


    Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 11:51 pm

    July 1 was gone long ago. I’m hoping for a September or at worst an October 1st opening up in Phuket and other places. Seeing that they just showed the world that they have no confidence in the vaccines (removed 7 day quarantine for vaccinated foreigners, who really shouldn’t have any if they arrive Covid free) why would anyone think this government can figure it out at all. Get a visa and a negative covid 19 test within 3 days of departing and you’re free to visit the US….where many states are open with no masks required while outside. Those are mostly red states, too.

  4. Avatar


    Friday, April 30, 2021 at 2:36 am

    Phukets problems are self inflicted due to greed. Come to Phuket over Song Kran with no restrictions……

  5. Avatar

    Mr cynic

    Friday, April 30, 2021 at 3:28 am

    The people of phuket are still trying to buy their way to the front of the que for vacinnes in a futile attempt to try to save their
    dead tourist industry.
    Perhaps if they look to the west across the adaman sea they will see a far greater need than theirs.
    It’s called india.1000’s of people every day are dying prematurely for want of you genuinely believe your tourism industry is more important than thise people living?it is very unlikely the well educated and socially responsible alleged german and scandinavia tourists are unaware of this situation also.the greed and shortsightedness the islands taxi drivers are world famous for clearly does not end there.

  6. Avatar


    Friday, April 30, 2021 at 4:43 am

    The Thai government, not the virus, has destroyed the tourism industry. Any chance of people coming in July is over as nobody will plan a trip when the rules can change by the day. Maybe October or later, and we’ll see what businesses have survived.

  7. Avatar

    Sai Yuan George

    Friday, April 30, 2021 at 5:01 am

    @Jeff – You are 100% right mate. I kind of thought the same when the news came out today. The increased number of Covid cases are not a tourist related problem but a local Thai problem. Increasing the ASQ days again to 14 days for fully vaccinated tourists is insane. And now you are not allowed to leave your room during the 14 days quarantine anymore. The old rule was that you can leave your room after 6 or 7 days for 45 minutes a day. That little treat is cancelled too. OMG

  8. Avatar

    Simon Small

    Friday, April 30, 2021 at 11:12 am

    “Increasing the ASQ days again to 14 days for fully vaccinated tourists is insane”

    How is anyone supposed to know if tourists are “fully vaccinated” or not?

    According to UK Border Control it’s impossible to verify ANY “vaccination passports” and they find over 100 forgeries EVERY DAY just from spelling mistakes!

    Canada says the same thing – the “vaccine passports” are useless / until they can be verified, and that isn’t possible yet.

    Returning to the 14 days quarantine won’t solve the current “wave”, agreed, but at least it’ll stop it being made any worse.

  9. Avatar


    Friday, April 30, 2021 at 11:12 am

    phuket was promised a new conference centre,a new incinerator along with koh samui and still waiting ? acquiring a leading vaccine at this very late stage is wishful thinking, even the government wont be able to,a very disappointing situation not just for phuket but the country

  10. Avatar

    Simon Small

    Friday, April 30, 2021 at 12:26 pm

    “… a very disappointing situation not just for phuket but the country…”

    Maybe the rest of “the country” don’t care as much about Phuket as Phuket does, and they’re actually quite happy to see some equity over vaccine distribution and foreign and domestic tourism controlled and put on hold until other issues have been resolved, such as a nationwide vaccine roll out and an international vaccination validation system.

  11. Avatar


    Friday, April 30, 2021 at 5:08 pm

    Much the same as Nazi’ism is constantly highlighted lest people should forget……it’s imperative that this is constantly highlighted to remind people how this started…..lest it should be forgotten.

  12. Avatar

    Dean Millard

    Thursday, May 6, 2021 at 8:29 pm

    I was looking at September, but it’s looking dicey now

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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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