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PM Prayut Chan-o-cha says 19 million people will be vaccinated in the first phase of immunisations

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PHOTO: Asia Times

After criticism that the Thai government is taking too long to start mass Covid-19 immunisation, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha announced that 19 million people will be vaccinated in the first phase of inoculations starting next month.

Vulnerable groups and frontline workers in areas at the highest risk of infection are first priority. Out of the 19 million people to be vaccinated in the first phase, Prayut says 11 million will be people over the age of 60, 6.1 million people with underlying conditions and 1.7 million people who work in the medical field. Another 15,000  government workers involved in managing the virus will also be vaccinated in the first phase.

Prayut says the first phase will start with 50,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has been approved by the government for emergency use. Altogether, the Thai government secured 26 million doses from AstraZeneca and reportedly reserved another 35 million doses. The Thai firm Siam Bioscience is planned to produce the vaccine locally by June.

Thailand also ordered 2 million doses of China’s Sinovac Biotech vaccine and the first shipment of 200,000 doses is expected to arrive next month.

There was no timeline announced for the first phase of immunisation. Head of the government’s vaccine management committee, Sophon Mekthon, told Reuters that the time frame depends on the capacity of hospitals administering the vaccines as well as the number of doses they receive.

SOURCE: Reuters

 

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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