Coronavirus (Covid-19)Thailand

So expats can get vaccines in the rollout. But… how?

PHOTO: Mass vaccination centres like this one at Bangkok's Central Festival should be vaccinating foreigners, but expats can't figure out how. (via Facebook/ ศาลาว่าการกรุงเทพมหานคร)

With mass vaccination finally underway, one demographic hangs in an uncertain balance for vaccines more than any other: Thailand’s 3 million expats. After months of back and forth with foreigners being told they will get vaccines, then they wouldn’t, then they’d have to pay, then they’d have to wait until after all Thais, and finally that all expats would be vaccinated alongside Thais as a part of the vaccine rollout.

And now confusion still swirls around how exactly foreigners are able to get a Covid-19 vaccine. While countless government officials have claimed that expats can get their jabs now, the actual steps they need to take are very unclear. A government spokesman has even now told foreigners to just hang on and await further instructions.

Foreigners are being told they can get a vaccine, but they can’t just show up to vaccine centres, they need to check the details and arrangements before going to any site, as plans are procedures are different for foreigners in different locations.

Starting June 7, older expats over 60 or having one of the 7 chronic diseases that are deemed high-risk for Covid-19 infections can register online for vaccines. Foreigners must provide a social security number connected to a passport or work permit. The US Embassy has suggested that Americans contact whatever local hospital has medical records for them.

Problems have been reported, with 2 senior expats of 40 years reported being given an appointment for their vaccines on January 1, 1970. Others have reported additional problems in registering to get a vaccine and suspect the system is overwhelmed.

The director-general of the Disease Control Department stated that Thailand’s goal is to give 100 million vaccines to 50 million people, about 70% of Thailand’s 67 million Thais and 3 million expats. Staff from international organisations in Thailand and diplomats were instructed to register last week and got first priority, with vaccines already being administered in Bangkok at Vimut Hospital and MedPark Hospital.

Provinces are launching their own individual vaccine systems, and for expats in tourist destinations like Koh Samui, Phuket, Chiang Mai and Hua Hin, there are often entirely different systems for foreigners to register for vaccines. Businesses can make vaccine appointments with the Social Security Office for any foreign staff. The priority and schedule for vaccines are also determined by each province.

Vaccination for foreigners is still confusing and widely varied in different provinces, but nationwide, vaccination centres are administering Sinovac and AstraZeneca jabs, with most centres offering one of the other, not a choice. Both vaccines have been approved for emergency use by the World Health Organisation.

The Private Hospital Association has plans to import Moderna vaccines, but it will not be available until around October most likely. The price for full vaccination had been originally estimated at 3,000 baht but has been revised to 3,800 baht including 2 vaccines, side effect insurance, and service fees.

A few resources for vaccine appointments mentioned in this article:
Diplomats – ThailandIntervac.com/diplomats
Foreigners over 60 or with a medical condition – ThailandIntervac.com
Chiang Mai – wallofcm.chiangmaihealth.go.th
Phuket – xn--12cmj6ba0a7b3g4a6fud5d2a.com

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Neill Fronde

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.

14 Comments

  1. I am an expat and June 9 (today ) was given the Astra Zeneca vaccine at a local hospital,

    I had signed up with Mor Phom app 4 weeks ago and all went smoothly today!

    A smooth operation with registration, check up (with blood pressuer , pulse etc) and getting the shot taking less than 30 minutes!

  2. Im confused about the social security number. Ive worked in Thailand for 4 years and havent heard of it.

    Is it my passport number or work permit number. Or something I need to apply for?

  3. Vaccines should be distributed like this:

    1) To hot spots such as Bangkok. Where the virus is spreading the most right now. Where it is likely to spread the most. Covid spreads exponentially.

    2) To the people who are super spreaders. The people who are mostly likely to catch and spread the virus to others. Essential workers.

    Farangs don’t fit in there for a long while. They can isolate in their villas or apartments, they don’t have to go to jobs.

  4. My online registration (I’m in Pattaya) that was accessible yesterday is no long accessible. It did not have an appointment date or time but told me I would receive an email informing me. Either it’s coming or I’ve been cancelled. I’m in my mid 70s

  5. On Phuket, at the Jungceylon vaccinatiion site…..they have a special desk with two to three staff who are there to register people who just show up without an appointment since last month. I’m 67 years old….and I’ve tried to register in person 3X. Each time I was told that only foreigners with work permits are currently allowed to get vaccinated.

  6. Intervac is only for those 7000+ privileged persons registered with the ministry of foreign affairs, mostly diplomatic or working for international or special status organizations.

  7. @Steven Ballowe – Congratulations Steven and I hope you get your 2nd jab in the same trouble free manner. I am intrigued to know exactly where you live which allows you an easy route to your vaccination because it is very much at odds with what is happening in Patong, Phuket. As per the advice given in the late May edition of Thaiger, my Thai wife and I duly reported to Patong hospital on the 7th June to register myself for a Covid-19 vaccination. I had received medical treatment there before so they had my name on record plus I took my passport.

    Outside the main entrance to the above hospital stood a young Thai lady dressed in an ankle length white gown, a mask and a further full-face plastic see through mask, a small table with a piece of paper and a pen. When my wife spoke to her requesting assistance in how to register me, she was told that no registration of farangs was being conducted. She then tore a piece off the paper on the small table and wrote down the telephone number of the Patong hospital, (which we already had printed on my hospital card). She said to telephone the hospital on the 25th June to ascertain what was the policy then, for farangs to get registered. All in all, a total waste of a journey. I am aged 82 and have hip and lower back problems making my mobility somewhat restricted. Patong hospital is a joke, like a pantomime and from our observations, if you are a Thai person you are fine and ‘Welcome”. If you are a non-Thai, try again in two weeks time and Goodbye. (NAME & EMAIL WITHHELD FOR OBVIOUS REASONS. If this is not company policy then please ignore the comment and DO NOT PRINT IT.

  8. I filled in the registration and found out AFTERWARDS that only BKK hospitals were available.
    Please make this very clear BEFORE registration! I lve in Pattaya and do wish the hassle x 2 of going to BKK.

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