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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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Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2012. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for 41 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program, presented over 10,000 radio news bulletins, 3,900 in Thailand alone, hosted 650 daily TV news programs and produced 2,100 videos, TV commercials and documentaries. As founder of The Thaiger, Tim now acts as the Content Manager and head-writer, whilst supervising the growth of the YouTube channel. He's reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and other major stories in Thailand.

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