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Privatising Covid vaccines – Thai government gives private hospitals the go-ahead to buy vaccines

Tim Newton

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“About 10,000 people are being vaccinated around Thailand, on average, with 14,000 people being vaccinated each day in Phuket.”

Private hospitals and institutions have been given the official go-ahead to purchase up to 10 million doses of approved Covid-19 vaccines. The purchases will be in addition to what the Thai government is also doing. The major sticking point, despite the approval, however, continues to be the world supply shortage of vaccines, with demand far outstripping current supply.

The CCSA’s Dr. Taweesilp Visanuyothin announced that the Thai PM had approved the privatisation of vaccines but maintained that the roll out of free vaccines for Thais and people at risk would continue at full pace. The Thai government have been fending off accusations that it was blocking the acquisition of vaccines by private companies and hospitals. The 10 million doses approved for private purchases actually allows about 5 million vaccinated people with most of the approved vaccines needing 2 doses.

The spokesperson explained that the Thai government needs to have 40 million Thais vaccinated before they would be able to claim any scientific level of herd immunity. The public health minister said that around 10,000 people per day are being vaccinated around the country, on average. About 350,000 doses have arrived in Thailand and 1.5 million more doses are awaiting delivery for this month, according to the Thai PM.

The order allows the private sector to use a letter of approval from the Thai government to purchase its own supplies separately. Or, alternatively, to purchase directly from the government and resell to customers.

The government’s current order for vaccines is enough for around 35 million people with a local supplier, manufacturing the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine under license, from June this year.

Dr Taweesilp also urged private companies to target and purchase vaccines from manufacturers other than the vaccine companies the Thai government were already dealing with.

The following vaccines are currently approved in Thailand…

  • AZD1222 by AstraZeneca/Oxford University (2 doses)
  • ARS-CoV-2 (CoronaVac) by Sinovac (2 doses)
  • NT162b2/CORMIRNATY – Tozinameran by Pfizer/BioNTech (2 doses)
  • Covishield (ChAdOx1_nCoV19) by the Serum Institute of India (2 doses)
  • Ad26.COV2.S by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson (Single dose)
  • mRNA-1273 by Moderna (2 doses)

There are also current applications pending from other vaccine producers which will likely be approved in coming weeks.

Many expats have been chasing information about when they could expect to be vaccinated. Despite some promises from the government there has been little concrete information about formalities to register for vaccination at this stage. Meanwhile many expats have indicated they were prepared to pay for their vaccination but were unable to get clarification from private hospitals about when that may be available.

In Phuket the provincial government has promised ALL registered residents, local or foreign, that they would be eligible for government-funded vaccination. There has been a flurry of activity on the island over the past 2 weeks since the ‘Sandbox’ proposal was approved, in principal, for a July re-opening of quarantine-free tourism to vaccinated travellers. There has been queues and waiting lists at the island’s public hospitals every day for the past week. Currently some 14,000 people are being vaccinated every day, on average.

Meanwhile, the events of the past few days – the closure of entertainment venues and bars in 41 provinces, including all the main tourist areas – will force the government to re-consider any scheduled plans to re-open borders and reduction of quarantine times. Travellers are still allowed to visit Thailand, under new guidelines introduced on April 1, 2021.

What you currently need to enter Thailand…

  • Vaccine certificate, either a print out or the original document (or vaccinated travellers)
  • Certificate of Entry issued by the Royal Thai Embassy in your country
  • Covid-19 health insurance with a minimum coverage of US$100,000
  • Booking confirmation for an Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) hotel
  • Negative Covid-19 test issued no more than 72 hours before departure

Anyone considering travelling to Thailand at this time is recommended to check with the Thai embassy in their country first, before making bookings of ASQ hotels or flights.

 

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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Jason

    Saturday, April 10, 2021 at 10:06 am

    Why limit the amount private hospitals can buy? Sounds retarded.

  2. Avatar

    toby andrews

    Saturday, April 10, 2021 at 10:16 am

    what justification do the the government have for selling these vaccines?
    If deceased people were not cremated, the Thais would be selling cadavers for pig food.
    No deed is too low, or foul to prevent Thais making money.
    If the government have the vaccines they should be using them, but they are holding them back to sell to hospitals, and receiving kickbacks.
    I saw this coming months ago.

  3. Avatar

    Graham Walker

    Saturday, April 10, 2021 at 11:50 am

    After all this time of asking and pleading, the government finally agrees to private hospitals purchasing their own vaccines (I wonder how many they would have had in stock now if they had been allowed when they first asked ?).
    Well done Government of Thailand.

  4. Avatar

    ynwaps

    Saturday, April 10, 2021 at 1:13 pm

    Not going to travel under these conditions.

  5. Avatar

    axel

    Saturday, April 10, 2021 at 2:40 pm

    What you currently need to enter Thailand…
    – Vaccine certificate, either a print out or the original document (or vaccinated travellers)

    I don’t find this anywhere else.
    Does this mean I can only enter Thailand if vaccinated?

  6. Avatar

    Slugger

    Saturday, April 10, 2021 at 3:15 pm

    Toby if. If this, if that, perhaps.

    Is there any other country has solved the problem? I think not.

  7. Avatar

    B.T.

    Saturday, April 10, 2021 at 7:04 pm

    From your requirements to enter Thailand the first is incorrect partly.Without Vaccine certificate can enter as well.Quarantine will be 11 days or 15 days.(Vaccinated passengers 8 days)Negative Covid test with med certificate(always 2 documents)

  8. Avatar

    toby andrews

    Saturday, April 10, 2021 at 9:32 pm

    Not relevant slugger. Message garbled please resend . . .

  9. Avatar

    A Web Revolution

    Saturday, April 10, 2021 at 10:42 pm

    The purchases will be in addition to what the Thai government is also doing.

  10. Avatar

    Peter Hayes

    Sunday, April 11, 2021 at 7:36 am

    I have received two does of Pfizer vaccine but would not presently consider travelling to Thailand until all restrictions withdrawn. Thailand must expedite its vaccination programme to cover the whole country.It is not sufficient to vaccinate tourist hotspots. The Government must supply vaccines free of charge to Thai National. Foreigners must pay and make there
    Own arrangements or leave Thailand

  11. Avatar

    Steve

    Sunday, April 11, 2021 at 12:05 pm

    If they have vaccine to sell to private hospitals why are the government not just distibuting them to the public?

  12. Avatar

    toby andrews

    Sunday, April 11, 2021 at 12:41 pm

    Every person can receive the covid-19 vaccination in the UK. Thais, legal or not, Mongolians, Algerians, anyone in the UK will receive the vaccination, free.
    Will the Thais do that?
    No chance. The Thais will SELL the vaccinations to the western foreigners, even when the vaccine was developed in the UK. Even when the vaccines were given to the Thais at cost price, the Thais will make money out of vaccinations.

  13. Avatar

    John G

    Sunday, April 11, 2021 at 3:45 pm

    Gosh I hope those responsible are being selective about where the vaccines are being sourced…..a quote from an online article published by the Australian National Broadcaster (ABC News) today

    “Chinese vaccines “don’t have very high protection rates”, said the director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Gao Fu, at a conference in the south-western city of Chengdu.”

  14. Avatar

    Ben

    Sunday, April 11, 2021 at 7:22 pm

    Rich Thais do not go to government hospitals for care. They go to private hospitals where the care is comparable to what you get in the west. Private hospitals will do a better job than the government in the vaccine arena too. Rich Thais will go to private hospitals for their vaccine.

    Western foreigners have three choices:

    1. Wait in line for the free vaccine at a government facility
    2. Go to a private hospital and pay
    3. Go back to their home country and get vaccinated

    Toby, these are choices. No one is forcing you to go to the private hospital and pay. But you’ll get it quicker and maybe even get a choice other than SInovac and Astra Zeneca (the one produced in Thailand). If the price is to high for you then walk away and select either option 1 or 3. Yes quality care, faster service and better selection cost money.

    So this is a good development because it speeds up vaccinations vs the government being the only one that can acquire and dispense vaccines. I agree with Jason, why not let them buy as much as they want? But there has to be safeguards so that you’re not being injected with saline.

  15. Avatar

    David T Pike

    Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 8:15 pm

    They screwed up on this. You do not have to be vaccinated to enter Thailand. But being vaccinated changes your ASQ stay from 10 to 7 days… Very misleading sentence… Come on Thaiger… Your better than this!

  16. Avatar

    David T Pike

    Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 8:27 pm

    This is very misleading Tim Newton!!! “New guidelines introduced on April 1, 2021.

    What you currently need to enter Thailand…

    Vaccine certificate, either a print out or the original document (or vaccinated travellers)”

    You don’t need a “vaccine certificate”! Foreigners need a “medical certificate with a laboratory result indicating that COVID-19 is not detected, using RT-PCR method, issued no more than 72 hours before departure”

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Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Thailand. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2012. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for nearly 40 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program, presented 3,900 radio news bulletins in Thailand alone, hosted 450 daily TV news programs, produced 1,800 videos, TV commercials and documentaries and is now the General Manager and writer for The Thaiger. He's reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket red zone list adds Krabi, Trang, Ranong, Phatthalung

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: The Phuket checkpoint now lists 25 provinces as a red zone.

Visitors to Phuket from Krabi, Trang, Ranong, and Phatthalung will now have to prove they’re vaccinated or have a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of arrival, as they’ve been added to the red zone province list. People entering without those qualifications will have to take a rapid antigen test on the spot before being allowed into Phuket.

The 4 provinces join a group of 21 other provinces already on the Phuket red zone list requiring strict measures to enter. That list even includes Phuket itself, as people do exit the province have to prove a negative test or vaccination before being allowed to re-enter.

Phuket’s vice governor made the announcement yesterday after the governor signed the order and put it into effect until at least May 15th. That same order requires all trucks transporting goods to travel from 11 pm to 5 am, the nighttime hours that other people are not allowed to enter the island. Phuket recently closed its entry checkpoints from late night to early morning after reports of exhaustion from the health officials working to test everyone or verify their credentials.

Delivery drivers will also have to pass the same requirements as red zone province arrivals before entering Phuket. Any driver who does not have a negative test within 72 hours or proof that they’ve received both doses of a vaccine approved by Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration, will be forced to wait until the regular checkpoint opens at 5 am to receive a rapid antigen test.

Over 40,000 people from red zones have now been tested at the checkpoint to enter Phuket. In the first week of the requirement which began on April 22, health officials tested more than 22,000 people, overwhelming staff and prompting the government to close the entrance from 11 pm to 5 am to give checkpoint workers a break.

The 25 provinces currently classified as a red zone for entering Phuket are as follows:

Bangkok Nakhon Pathom Pathum Thani Rayong Suphan Buri
Chiang Mai Nakhon Ratchasima Phatthalung Sa Kaeo Surat Thani
Chonburi Nakhon Sri Thammarat Phuket Samut Prakan Tak
Khon Kaen Narathiwat Prachuap Khiri Khan Samut Sakhon Trang
Krabi Nonthaburi Ranong Songkhla Udon Thani

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

BMA admits Covid virus spreading fast in Bangkok, speeds up testing and jabs

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Stock photo via Flickr

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration says it is speeding up mass Covid-19 testing and inoculations in communities hit strongly by the virus, after admitting the virus is spreading fast in Thailand’s capital.

The city clerk says the administration, along with the Public Health Ministry and other agencies, are speeding up the collection of nasal swabs for Covid-19 tests, with a plan to test 3,000 people in high-risk groups per day. Those people deemed to be at an increased risk of the virus have been clustered by districts, with testing units in each of the 6 districts…

Laksi district, 70 Pansa Min Buri park in Min Buri district, Huai Khwang stadium in Huai Khwang district, under the Rama III expressway in Yannawa district, a public park under Rama VIII bridge in Bang Phlad district and The Mall Bangkae shopping centre in Bang Kae district.

The virus has been found in densely populated, low-income areas such as the Klong Toey community in Klong Toey district, Bon Kai community in Pathumwan district and Ban Khing community and The Mall Bangkae in Bang Kae district. In an effort to help those residents stay at home to prevent the possible spreading of the coronavirus, community-level organisations are teaming up to provide food, water, and supplements to those in the areas.

But stay at home orders are a problem for many as starvation is more frightening than the virus and 90% of residents in the slum communities still need to leave for work each day to keep food on the table. The daily average income for those in the slums is around 120 to 150 baht. The CCSA yesterday declared that is is focusing on containing major Covid clusters in 3 key Bangkok communities – the Klong Toey ‘slums’, Bon Kai in Pathumwan and Ban Khing in the Bang Kae district, on the west side of the Chao Phraya.

Today’s nationwide Covid update includes compiling the regional totals from yesterday, with a total of 27 new Covid-related deaths and 2,044 new Covid-19 infections over the past 24 hours. The numbers continue a statistically consistent rise in the number of Covid infections over the past 2 weeks.

Meanwhile, talking about Phuket’s plans to open in July, the Tourism and Sports Minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, said yesterday that the number of new cases on the island must reach zero before the government can contemplate the ‘Sandbox’ plan for no-quarantine travel.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket visitor Covid-19 rapid antigen testing may end May 15

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Covid-19 rapid tests may be discontinued in Phuket. (via Wikimedia)

In a live broadcast, Phuket’s Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong said officials will consider discontinuing Covid-19 rapid antigen testing for people arriving into Phuket after May 15. The interview from the Phuket Check Point at Tha Chatchai yesterday seems to contradict a recent statement from the governor launching additional rapid testing from today.

Entry to Phuket since April 22 has been limited for travellers from red zone provinces, requiring proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test within the last 72 hours. Anyone arriving without either of these would be screened on the spot with rapid antigen tests. Though originally offered for 300 baht per person, controversy arose over Thailand’s 2-tier pricing as it was announced that testing would be free for Thai people and 500 baht for foreigners.

The National Health Security Office provided 40 billion baht for testing in Phuket, allowing free testing for nationals, but as that funding is used up, Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew announced that the testing will no longer be free for Thai people after May 15. Phuket does not have the budget for free rapid antigen testing so they will likely be forced to require payment after that date.

The current testing has seen a decline in positive Covid-19 infections, not finding any new cases for several days, prompting the government to rethink whether the current system of rapid testing those who are not vaccinated or holding a recent negative test certificate is worth the money spent.

Over 40,000 people have been tested since the program began April 22 until the current figures on May 5, with only 22 covid infections identified. Furthermore, 5 of those infections turned out to be false positives.

The vice-governor conceded that Phuket has Covid-19 outbreak problems with growing infections every day, but explains that the infections are from within the community and not from outside visitors. The latest infections stem in large part from gambling get-togethers without proper Covid-19 safety.

As of now, the rapid antigen testing will continue until the May 15 cut off, but government officials are still debating whether to continue testing and whether funding will exist for it after that date.

The NHSO has recently hinted that they will approve more funds to continue testing, a signal that had not been received before the governor’s announcement on Wednesday about the rapid antigen testing.

The vice-governor stressed that the situation is constantly evolving and that new information it’s shared frequently, and often out of local control. He urges everyone to pay attention to forthcoming announcements.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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