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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

PM Prayut proposes private sector partnerships for vaccinations



PHOTO: If the government can't vaccinate you, maybe Facebook and Big C can.

In an effort to speed up Covid-19 vaccinations, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha plans to work closely with the private sector to vaccinate 50 million people by the end of the year. The Federation of Thai Industries and the Thai Chamber of Commerce will work alongside the government to help import and distribute vaccines after Thailand is off to a particularly slow start to the jab rollout, drawing criticism for inefficiency.

As the third wave of Covid-19 has spread exponentially further and more fatally than previous waves, and the economy continues to suffer from new shutdowns and the threat of full lockdowns, the government needs help vaccinating people. It is estimated this latest outbreak would set economic growth back about 1.2%. The Bank of Thailand projected an economic decline of 6.1% for 2021.

The only thing that will save the economy is to stop the spread of Covid-19 and get the people of Thailand vaccinated as quickly as possible. As of now, only about a third of 1% of people in Thailand have been vaccinated so far, with only 240,000 people receiving 2 jabs already in a country of 69 million.

With the snail’s paced rollout, critics have called for the resignation of Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul and PM Prayut responded by taking over the Covid-19 response personally as Thailand’s official Covid-19 Czar. The private sector has proposed companies banding together to create 4 response teams to expedite vaccinations, a move the government endorsed.

Team A would tackle distribution and would tap such national business powerhouses as Central Group, Big C and Tesco. Team B would focus on communication to disseminate information about Covid-19 and vaccinations to the population. Team C would handle IT, calling on Line, Google, Facebook and IBM to help coordinate tech support for the government’s vaccination Line account. Finally, Team D would be in charge of actually buying and importing any approved Covid-19 vaccine to give to employees.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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  1. Mister Stretch

    Wednesday, April 28, 2021 at 8:32 pm

    Why is Prayut always choosing himself to head “emergency” operations?

    I wouldn’t choose him to organize a Sweet-16 party.

    It’s obvious that his government – under his leadership – has dropped the ball on vaccines and protecting the public…so his answer is committees of private sector individuals, but he’s still the Big Boss?

    Could it be worse? Let’s see.

  2. David Pilkington

    Wednesday, April 28, 2021 at 9:43 pm

    Proof, if ever it was needed, that this sorry country is simply strapped for cash.
    Other countries have faced a variety of delays in the vaccine roll-out, for example the US and UK’s initial tardiness to get things rolling but then seeing the light and doing big deals with the vaccine makers, getting the vaccines and inoculating many millions of people in a matter of weeks.

    The problem, here, now for the world to see, is that the Thai government – on its own – simply hasn’t got the cash needed to buy vaccines, unless it resorts to shameful cadging from private sector money sources. Prayut and his cronies, for the past 7 years, have been gradually grinding the country to a standstill and is now seeing the real cost of that miss-governance in the harshest of terms . . . in daily death tolls that show little sign of easing.

    Little wonder that the big-thinking people of the country – the university students – have been up-in-arms for this incompetent shower to resign. Their legacy is truly shameful.

  3. BJoe

    Wednesday, April 28, 2021 at 11:56 pm

    Nevessary, but of course pressured by the upper class who are willing and able to afford priority status. What I’d like clarifed is the Prioritization order for recieving the vaccinations, and Why government officials felt thst they should be at the top of the priority table.

  4. Ian

    Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 3:13 am

    David and Mr stretch they havent got a clue how to manage only dictate take back handers and use military leadership against the lovely Thai people I love the thais but hate this government how they treat and daily mess up thier lives I’m just one voice but I’m not scared i speak against them weekly and always will

  5. EdwardV

    Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 4:27 am

    Wow just a few months ago, they rejected the idea of private purchasing vaccines.

  6. David Pilkington

    Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 8:03 am

    As reported in the New York Times, ‘The E.U. is about to sign a deal for 1.8 billion Pfizer doses . . . ‘ Yes, you read it right Mr PM . . . that was 1.8 BILLION doses – not around the half-a-million doses as your health dept people have managed thus far.

    See, Prayut, that’s how countries and governments operate . . . when the vaccine makers know that their money is good. Too late, now, for you to learn this simple business lesson.

    And, having put yourself in the driving seat and maybe looking for kick-backs, T I is keeping its beady eye on suspected shady deal-working under the pretext of looking after the nation’s health. Yes, they know who might confuse vaccines with aero-engines . . . or submarines and the like.

  7. David Pilkington

    Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 8:07 am

    @Ian – Hear-hear!

  8. Sam C

    Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 10:03 am

    There’s a bloke living in Bavaria that is apparently worth $US70 billion, could he not put his hand in his pocket?

  9. Buttaxe

    Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 10:34 am

    @David Agreed on the incompetence of people trained in weapons use managing a country, and the UK vax rollout is exemplary. Where I disagree though is citing the EU as an example of how to do it right. The UK has been successful precisely because they are NOT in the EU now. The EU has been playing politics with their own citizens’ lives and prosperity – against the UK, and against Russia. Both the Az and Sputnik vaccines are superior to Pfizer and yet the American option is very belatedly chosen. Cui Bono?

  10. Toby Andrews

    Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 11:23 am

    I could see it coming. The Thais are going to sell the vaccines.
    There is a shortage, but I read they are keeping vaccines back.
    Is this intentional so they can sell the vaccines?

  11. David Pilkington

    Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 2:05 pm

    @Buttaxe – Woah, there . . . slow down, Buttaxe. Did I cite the EU as a good Covid example? Whilst earlier praising the US & UK efforts, my only later comment on the EU was re their huge Pfizer order – not a ‘doing it right’ citation by any means. A case of subliminal thoughts, methinks, but I do agree with your negative stance on the EU’s questionable conduct.

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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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