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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai government calls on all foreigners to register for Covid vaccine



PHOTO: Vincent Vega on Flickr

Roll up, roll up…your sleeves.

The Thai government says all foreign nationals living in the Kingdom should register for vaccination, ahead of the national rollout next month. The news was confirmed by Natapanu Nopakun from the Foreign Ministry, who you may know from the daily English-language briefings on behalf of the Covid-19 Situation Administration.

“All people living on Thai soil, Thais and foreign nationals alike, are requested to register for vaccination through designated channels, should they wish to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.”

According to the Bangkok Post, various agencies have been tasked with managing the registration of foreigners living in Thailand. Natapanu says foreigners should contact the relevant agency to sign up for inoculation.

“For instance, vaccinations for diplomats, members of international organisations, and foreign media are coordinated by the Foreign Ministry. Foreign students are under the responsibility of the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation. Migrant workers from neighbouring countries are taken care of by the Social Security Office. Spouses of Thai citizens, retirees, investors, and all other foreign nationals are advised to contact the hospital with their health record or make an on-site registration at designated vaccination venues. Businesses and organisations can also liaise with the Ministry of Public Health to organise vaccination schedules for their employees, regardless of their nationalities.”

Vaccination will be carried out primarily using Sinovac and AstraZeneca, but Natapanu says additional doses are being sought from other manufacturers. He adds that the first batch of locally-manufactured AstraZeneca doses is expected next month, and that the government’s aim is to inoculate 70% of the population by the end of the year.

According to Natapanu, the private sector can import its own vaccine supplies, but must do so through the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation.

“Most manufacturers will not sell Covid-19 vaccines directly to private companies since these vaccines are approved for emergency use only. With this option, people will be able to choose their preferred vaccine even if it differs from those provided by the government. These vaccines however, must still be approved by the WHO, Thailand’s FDA, or the Ministry of Public Health.”

Last week, in a surprise move, the Chulabhorn Research Academy confirmed it was importing supplies of another Chinese vaccine, Sinopharm, to boost the government rollout. The Food and Drug Administration approved the vaccine on May 28.

Sinopharm joins Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna as the fifth vaccine approved for emergency use. To date however, there has been no confirmation of when supplies of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine or the Moderna vaccine might be made available.

COMMENT: Despite this story, The Thaiger has had hundreds of people contacting us, from around Thailand, with tales of woe as they tried to register for Thailand’s roll out to vaccinate the population, including all foreigners.

There have been conflicting reports, apps not working, people being unable to register, or turning up to vaccination locations and being told they can’t participate. Others have been fully vaccinated as part of their school or office vaccination program. Bottomline, it’s been very patchy and difficult to get confirmed details. On the up side, the Thai Government keep re-iterating their intention to inoculate everyone in the country (if people choose to be vaccinated). We will continue to follow this story and understand it is a stressful situation for many people.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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