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Thai health officials brush off “vaccine passport” idea for travellers

Caitlin Ashworth

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PHOTO: Common Pass

Thai health officials aren’t onboard with the idea of a “vaccine passport” which would potentially allow travellers who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 to enter Thailand without undergoing quarantine. Health officials in Thailand say there isn’t enough evidence to prove that the vaccine is totally effective in preventing transmission of the virus.

While the vaccines are considered to be effective and are being administered around the world, Thailand’s Department of Disease Control director general Opas Karnkawinpong says there’s still not enough research to know if the shots are completely effective.

“Although Thailand and other countries allow Covid-19 vaccines, no one actually knows at this point the answer to the key question as to whether these vaccines are 100% effective in Covid-19 prevention.”

Thailand’s Public Health Ministry consulted the World Health Organisation about a potential vaccine passport regulation, but a mandatory 14 day quarantine is still the best international agreement on travelling during the pandemic, Opas says.

“The reason is there still isn’t sufficient information to conclude that the chance is zero for travellers already vaccinated against Covid-19 to be able to spread the virus to others… It remains uncertain even for how long such Covid-19 shots will last and how many repeat shots will actually be needed.”

The lack of tourists travelling to Thailand over the past year has led to many tourism-related businesses and hotels to close. With many people turned off by the idea of a 14 day quarantine at their own expense, some say the vaccine passport could draw in more tourists and boost the economy.

The Federation of Thai Industries chairperson Supant Mongkolsuthree says foreigners with a certificate of Covid-19 vaccination should be able to bypass some of the strict control measures when entering the country. He says the move will help promote tourism. He also suggested adding those in the tourism industry to the “first priority” group lined up to get the vaccine.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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66 Comments

66 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Fred glue

    Monday, February 8, 2021 at 10:39 am

    I sometimes understand it all, but not all the time. Half of loaf of bread, is better than no bread at all.

  2. Avatar

    Tom

    Monday, February 8, 2021 at 10:45 am

    Im sure someone is tring to kill Tourism over here NO WAY will a tourist come here and spend 14 days in quarantine. My son and his family want to come for two weeks holiday i dont think he wants to spend it in quarantine. (or maybe they dont care about tourist from UK or europe anymore only tourists from China and Korea)…This Country will never stop being a third world country with attitude like this…

    • Avatar

      Gosport

      Monday, February 8, 2021 at 10:54 am

      What sort of attitude you said ? You don’t say it out.

    • Avatar

      Mr cynic

      Monday, February 8, 2021 at 1:46 pm

      It is against the law in the UK at this time for people to travel for a holiday.your son and his family would have to knowingly break uk law,endure quarantine in thailand and on their return endure quarantine in the uk as they are putting a quarantine system in place for uk arrivals.
      Flights between thailand and the UK are now also very infrequent.
      Outbound and inbound travel to the uk for non essential purposes is now banned.same as thailand.
      such a journey is now realistically impossible due to the action of both the UK and Thai governments.
      It’s not just the thais.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Monday, February 8, 2021 at 1:59 pm

        Oh come on, Mr cynic 🙂

        Don’t let reality get in the way of a good rant and a bit of totally unwarranted Thai bashing.

        That’d spoil all the fun here 😮

        • Avatar

          Nipral

          Monday, February 8, 2021 at 8:28 pm

          Since he discovered -recently- the emojis our bullshitter-in-chief cannot breathe without them. Mind you it’s better than his feckless prose !??????

      • Avatar

        Tom

        Monday, February 8, 2021 at 3:20 pm

        Mr cynic…. who said they wanted to come now???. but the way this governtment is going about giving out the vaccine i think the UK would let there prople travel agian as they would have had there vaccine,

        • Avatar

          Rasputin

          Monday, February 8, 2021 at 7:28 pm

          The UK government announced yesterday that they would NOT be issuing “vaccine passports” to its citizens. It’s also worth considering NONE of the vaccine manufacturers are claiming 100% efficiency, they range from around 60% to a claimed 90% (Sputnik V) do you have faith in that? NONE of these manufacturers have made a claim as to how long any protection they offer will last, or if they will be effective against the recently discovered variants. Do you seriously think the Thai government (not the TAT, hoteliers or travel industry) will accept those figures to eliminate quarantine? Personally, I very much doubt they will.

        • Avatar

          Karena

          Monday, February 8, 2021 at 9:22 pm

          The vaccine doesn`t always prevent transmission and with the highest death rate in the EU l don`t think the Thais are in any hurry to let in the brits !!

      • Avatar

        David Mann

        Monday, February 8, 2021 at 5:19 pm

        This is incorrect in regard to quarantine in returning. The U.K. government are dragging their feet on the quarantine and are only applying it to 30 countries I believe. I further believe Thailand is not on the so called “red list”. So once travel is allowed from the U.K. then they can travel should they wish to.
        After all of the opinions, views, comments, insults etc on here relating to Covid, I think most people now recognise, that even with vaccines, the picture is still evolving and there will be more twists and turns ahead (AZ vaccine now suspended for health working in South Africa for example). The likelihood therefore being, that unless you have a real need to go to Thailand such as family or business, then 2022 is a more realistic date.

      • Avatar

        Mdott

        Monday, February 8, 2021 at 7:24 pm

        Thailand isn’t one of the counties that you need to quarantine for on return to the UK. It’s south America, south Africa and Portugal

        • Avatar

          Mr cynic

          Monday, February 8, 2021 at 9:06 pm

          If you return direct but who is operating direct non stop scheduled passenger flights between thailand and the UK at present than ordinary passenger’s can book a seat on?

          If you go via the middle East as most people do you are liable for quarantine on arrival in the UK is my understanding of the situation at this time.

          • Avatar

            Mr cynic

            Monday, February 8, 2021 at 9:33 pm

            And you need to be travelling to an area in the immediate area of the airport you arrive at in the UK and you should be not traveling for leisure purposes either.

      • Avatar

        Graham

        Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at 4:44 am

        The UK quarantine is only in place for those coming from high risk countries and Thailand is not one of them.

  3. Avatar

    dave

    Monday, February 8, 2021 at 10:49 am

    The Thailand health officials need to consider that there is an economic health for the Thai people along with a ‘covid’ health. If a tourist has proof of being vaccinated, and tests negative for covid before departure to Thailand, common sense should prevail, and that tourist should be allowed to enter the country, and spend their money, without having to spend 14 days in quarantine prison,and be forced to pay for it. Dear Thailand health officials: Please consider the economic health of your Thai people!

  4. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Monday, February 8, 2021 at 11:08 am

    I thought the purpose of the vaccine passport was to give the country a level of security their health care system wouldn’t be overwhelmed by tourists. It wasn’t about gaining access. That comes from the level of vaccination of your own population.

    • Avatar

      Michael

      Monday, February 8, 2021 at 11:20 am

      And looking at the Thai vaccination strategy that will probably be in 2022.

  5. Avatar

    Glenn

    Monday, February 8, 2021 at 11:19 am

    The pharma companies themselves say the mRNA gene therapy is not designed to prevent catching or transmitting CV. It’s intent (so they say) is to reduce symptoms. Technically these are NOT even vaccines in the traditional definition thus their legality is not even clear. And reduce symptoms? The WHO themselves say 99.6% of all active cases have only mild symptoms. None of the pharma companies are saying the gene modification therapy is even 99.6% effective!

    So the Thai Health Ministry thinks that IF this experimental gene therapy were to guarantee no transmission, would they then say they want a medical passport??
    The ignorance of facts is astounding – so astounding that I don’t think it is ignorance but rather intentional and part of the UN Agenda21/2030 World Economic Form Great Reset plan.

    Think that sounds crazy? Go read the Weforum.org website and you will see that IS their one of their goals in the bigger plan.

    • Avatar

      bruno

      Monday, February 8, 2021 at 12:05 pm

      No it dont soudns crazy – they have a hidden agenda – to keep europeans westerners white out we are unwanted – – am beginning to think it wil never be opened again for us they hate us . . but am so sorry for the ordinary thai . who is suffering, ,

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Monday, February 8, 2021 at 1:48 pm

        That agenda must be really well hidden, Bruno.

        To “keep europeans westerners white out” but, presumably, let blacks, Africans, Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Asians in.

        Maybe there’s a “hidden” list of countries that can get visas on arrival, etc, that says the opposite to the one that’s readily available …

      • Avatar

        Karena

        Monday, February 8, 2021 at 9:29 pm

        There are only some white countries they want to keep out and top of the list is the uk ! With good reason too, they have the highest death rate in the EU, now over 114,000 deaths, who would want to let them in their country and vaccination doesn`t necessarily stop transmission.

        • Avatar

          Pedro

          Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at 2:36 am

          Karena, there are many people who would disagree with your description of the UK as being a white country or being in the EU for that matter. However, before you run the country and its entire 70 million population down, just think about the reasons why the number is so high. ANY person testing positive for Covid, and then dies within 28 days of that test is recorded as a Covid related death – even if they are hit by a bus or had a terminal illness and would have died anyway. The reporting parameters are wide and honest, no-one is hiding anything. Hand on heart, can you say that about every country in the world, especially China, that bastion of democracy and openness (not) who the Thai Generals follow so closely. Or maybe India. Maybe look at the bigger picture before reporting on the little one. The number of cases and deaths from Covid in UK is now going well down on last week.

    • Avatar

      dispensed

      Monday, February 8, 2021 at 12:12 pm

      Well so much for the activist, virtue signaling media narrative that we should ALL be coerced into taking the vaccine to protect “others”

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Monday, February 8, 2021 at 1:52 pm

        What “activist, virtue signaling media narrative” is that, dispensed?

        I must have missed it, so come on, help me out.

        I thought the lockdowns, masks, distancing, etc, were to “protect “others”” while the vaccines were to protect yourself.

        Wrong again 🙁

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Monday, February 8, 2021 at 1:37 pm

      Agreed 100% with the first part, Glenn (rather less with the second, or the “gene modification” bit, unsurprisingly 🙂 ).

      Not just the mRNA vaccines, but none of the vaccines were ever intended to stop transmission or even trialled to see if they did, which would have been relatively simple.

      If it happens it’s a bonus, and so far it looks as if it may happen half the time, at best, which is next to useless as far as a “vaccine passport” is concerned.

      • Avatar

        Alavan

        Monday, February 8, 2021 at 5:28 pm

        There is proof that the Pfizer vaccine stops transmission from Israel. Unfortunately it was checked on just 102 persons, so that doesn’t count as certified. Let’s hope they fommow this research.

  6. Avatar

    Mike

    Monday, February 8, 2021 at 11:38 am

    I think it will never happen that vaccinated people will get some advantage, it would be big discrimination, some people won’t be able to take vaccine for health and other reasons and would be discriminated. Most of governments were always trying not to do discriminate on basis like this vaccine

    • Avatar

      Michael

      Monday, February 8, 2021 at 10:37 pm

      Oh, where I come from they think about making it obligated for visiting concerts, restaurants and cafes. Basically everything where a lot of people are together.
      Heard from several airlines too that they want to make it obligated for flying.
      I think that this is the right thing to do. I care about my own health and not about other people who find “other reasons”.

  7. Avatar

    dispensed

    Monday, February 8, 2021 at 12:15 pm

    Obviously vaccine passports are NOT happening. Millions of people have already been vaccinated, so it’s too late to register them with any degree of accuracy. The whole thing makes zero sense anyway and is a pipe dream of pearl clutching covid activists. 1) it’s not even practical, 2) sarscov2 will be the common cold by the time the vaccine is available to the general population, 3) the covid activist media told us we can still spread rona after getting the vaccine (but, to be fair, they were probably just trying to scare us, as always!)

    My prediction: Tech companies pocket millions on this pipe dream, and few if any people ever successfully use the passport to travel internationally.

    • Avatar

      Michael

      Monday, February 8, 2021 at 9:42 pm

      Millions of people have already been vaccinated. In western countries that means a note in your medical files. In my country they also keep a central database of all people who are vaccinated. It is important, because if there are problems later, or if you get serious side effects they must be able to see what they gave you.

      No problem to give there people a vaccine passport at a later date.

      It is funny to see how people make conclusions based on false information or ignorance.

  8. Avatar

    Brandon

    Monday, February 8, 2021 at 12:53 pm

    The 14 day quarantine should remain in place until herd immunity has been achieved. Period. If you don’t like it, don’t come or go elsewhere. The safety of society must come first!

  9. Avatar

    Brandon

    Monday, February 8, 2021 at 12:59 pm

    I’m sick and tired of all these selfish moaners and complainers who only care about their 2- week vacation but have no consideration for the health and safety of those who would be coming in contact with them.

  10. Avatar

    Slugger

    Monday, February 8, 2021 at 1:15 pm

    Tom has it right. They dont want Westerners coming and acting the big boss here and telling them how backward they are. Enough is enough.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Monday, February 8, 2021 at 2:03 pm

      … and neither does the West!

      Oh … oh dear … the West doesn’t want Westerners coming back and acting the big boss and telling the West how backward they are … 😮 😮 😮

    • Avatar

      Stardust

      Monday, February 8, 2021 at 4:42 pm

      How backward sluggers comments always are is the fact that a majority in Phuket are already living under the poverty line. The povertyline in Thailand is abput 3000 baht per month. He also forget that the farmers and other suppliers depends on the demand from the hotels/restaurants. Their salleries and benefits are important for the consuming (shopping malls,markets, phones,motorbikes, etc etc. .Sluggers always show everybody his level of education, knowledge and comonsense.

  11. Avatar

    PeterG

    Monday, February 8, 2021 at 4:10 pm

    Until such time as the majority of the population has been vaccinated it would be foolish to loosen restrictions.
    Vaccination does not mean you are virus free, it means (hopefully) if you are infected the body will shrug off the virus without to many complications.
    You can still shed, infect others, seriously if they have no protection.

    • Avatar

      Ray

      Monday, February 8, 2021 at 6:18 pm

      To infect others you need to have a certain virus load. Vaccinated persons can still carry some viruses in their upper respiratory system, but it can’t multiply to huge numbers. We’ll have to wait for more data but some experts have said to be optimistic.

      • Avatar

        Gobsmacked_1

        Monday, February 8, 2021 at 6:34 pm

        At last, someone here who actually knows what they are talking about.

        Cheers, Ray, whoever you are!

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Monday, February 8, 2021 at 7:34 pm

        Yaaay … optimism … let’s hear it for “peace in our time!”

  12. Avatar

    Bobby m

    Monday, February 8, 2021 at 4:33 pm

    When will Thailand finally grasp that Covid is NEVER going away. It is and will become something that we will all have to live with. It’s effects will be greatly reduced by Vaccination that is likely to be an annual or bi annual event. In time they will probably develop alternative vaccines that will protect for longer periods. But it is NEVER going to protect at 100% for infection or transmission.
    A vaccine is there to enable your immune system to defend you. Why is it so difficult to understand that you actually have to become infected for the vaccine to do it’s job.

    100% protection against catching it, which means it’s in your nose, mouth and bodily waste is science fiction.

    So you have to accept some risk. There is no option. Deal with it. It’s not going away for a very very long time. But the risk will be mitigated. The real decision is how much risk is acceptable because Zero is not achievable and NEVER will be.

    • Avatar

      Gobsmacked_1

      Monday, February 8, 2021 at 6:37 pm

      Yep, great. Another person who knows what they are talking about!

      • Avatar

        Karena

        Monday, February 8, 2021 at 9:33 pm

        Viruses always mutate and no one, not even the scientists know now what form future mutations will take, they could mutate into something weaker and eventually die out altogether but NO ONE knows for certain !!

  13. Avatar

    Ray

    Monday, February 8, 2021 at 5:38 pm

    Numbers of infection are already falling drastically in high vaccinated areas. It is occurring in the UK, Israel and some states in the US. We have to wait for official data so the Thai government can act on it. I am somewhat optimistic that the situation in the summer will look completely different.

    • Avatar

      J Joel

      Monday, February 8, 2021 at 11:34 pm

      “Although Thailand and other countries allow Covid-19 vaccines, no one actually knows at this point the answer to the key question as to whether these vaccines are 100% effective in Covid-19 prevention.”

      Then Thailand should never open, because no vaccine is 100% effective. That’s like saying you’re not going to open until no one dies, from anything, ever again.

  14. Avatar

    D-Boy

    Monday, February 8, 2021 at 6:26 pm

    “100% effective.” Impossible. Official statement or Opas’ opinion? Not clear. How about moving forward in stages?

    What is the problem with self-quarantine?

    – It’s enforceable by both manual and modern means.
    – It has an immediate impact on the economy with a limited danger of spreading of the virus.
    – It can be rolled out to select groups: the Retired, Employed, Educator, etc.
    – It’s a Win/Win for the Government, the unemployed locals and the disgruntled foreigner.

    I have not heard a legitimate objection or discussion. This should be questioned, analyzed, addressed.

  15. Avatar

    Jayce

    Monday, February 8, 2021 at 6:33 pm

    The oxford vaccine (even if not part of a true study but rather through greatly reduced pcr test positivity statistics as part of the UK vaccination campaign) has proven to greatly reduce (while probably not fully eliminating) transmission.
    So yes Thailand, you could still import the virus even when the entire rest of the world has already been vaccinated. You’ll never get a vaccine that will 100% eliminate transmission anyway so technically you’re going to be requiring 14 day quarantine indefinitely…. unless you actually start prioritizing the vaccination effort of your own people of course! Which is what every country should be putting every bit of effort into. At that point it becomes moot whether a vaccine eliminates transmissability anyway.

    Realistically though, if the Oxford vaccine reduces transmission by as little as 50% and you add to that the fact that you keep at least 60% of your population vaccinated, there should be no need to quarantine anymore as the risk of proliferation of the virus becomes negligible and there should barely be any further casualties.
    That’s of course assuming the vaccines keep up with mutations of course, if not then all beta are off.

    • Avatar

      Gobsmacked_1

      Monday, February 8, 2021 at 6:55 pm

      Ten years ago there would indeed have been a problem with “vaccines keeping up with mutations” for COVID-19.

      Fortunately, because of developments in genome sequencing worldwide, and in particular in the UK, genome sequencing can now be done MUCH more quickly and hence vaccine development can take place rapidly. The development of certain analytical techniques, cross-checked against high-field NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance), has been a game-changer. This helps not only at the R&D stage, but also in scale-up and quality control of the manufacturing.

    • Avatar

      Rasputin

      Monday, February 8, 2021 at 8:17 pm

      You have got some weird logic going off there with your maths

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at 10:09 am

      Jayce, your claim that “the oxford vacine … has proven to greatly reduce (while probably not fully eliminating) transmission” is simply untrue.

      Even according to AZ, the vaccine at best reduces transmission by 50%.

      • Avatar

        Jayce

        Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 2:06 pm

        All depends on your definition of ‘greatly’ John.
        50% reduction of transmission constitutes a pretty great reduction in transmission in my book….
        So my statement is therefore far from untrue. It may not be 100% accurate (again depending on your definition of ‘greatly’) but far from being ‘simply untrue’!

  16. Avatar

    Tim Houston

    Monday, February 8, 2021 at 6:51 pm

    They ‘re really taking the piss !

  17. Avatar

    Yan

    Monday, February 8, 2021 at 7:23 pm

    Quarantaine business also corrupted? That can be the only reason…..

  18. Avatar

    Jesus Monroe

    Monday, February 8, 2021 at 7:25 pm

    One less hoop to jump through ninety nine more to go………

  19. Avatar

    Stephen Westrip

    Monday, February 8, 2021 at 7:47 pm

    For the Thai government to make this proclamation now is premature and irresponsible. Pretty much the whole world is in lockdown again and no one can travel anyway so why not wait until there is more vaccine data, which is obviously growing day by day? All this announcement does is send negative waves through the tourism industry and the country as a whole.

  20. Avatar

    Ian

    Monday, February 8, 2021 at 7:50 pm

    Back to the drawing board it seems many of us are saying the same thing Thailand really doesn’t want farang anytime soon myself im getting fed up of second guessing this crazy government they just do what they want without thinking of the consequences most of Europe will be vaccinated in the coming months if Thailand doesn’t drop the quarantine it looks like we are all going elsewhere
    Hopefully Toby can sort me some accomodation in Cambodia for a month or two if not it’s philipines or Vietnam for me whichever his brave and wise enough to open up we shall see in the coming months

  21. Avatar

    pascal

    Monday, February 8, 2021 at 7:58 pm

    quarantine is the only way to keep the virus under control, means avoid it to spread. when the vaccination will be world wild, the virus may vanish. in meantime caution required. all country which did allow travel with no restriction as most of europes place and the us are in big shit. i don t get why the obvious is not understood.

  22. Avatar

    Roger C

    Monday, February 8, 2021 at 8:54 pm

    Don’t get excited folks. The flip flop is on it’s way.

  23. Avatar

    London Al

    Monday, February 8, 2021 at 10:06 pm

    I think what they’re saying is we don’t know if we can be carrying and transmitting the virus, but have no symptoms because the vaccine has supressed them.

    Saying they don’t know therefore it could happen is standard scaremongering talk without any substance, but even it were the case then surely testing would pick it up.

    The UK is not Zombieland, over 99.9% of the population do not have Covid, if you’ve had the vaccine and test negative at both ends of your journey there is no reason not to be allowed in.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at 10:13 am

      Again, as always, totally untrue.

      The idea that “over 99.9% of the population do not have Covid” in the UK is simply delusional by any metric.

  24. Avatar

    Greg Sanwood

    Monday, February 8, 2021 at 10:36 pm

    When will I get back with my partner in Thailand, I am from UK, almost a year later and zero hope in sight. Why is the quarantine rate so high in Thailand??? This is heart breaking!!! Love is NOT tourism, how would anyone like to be separated from their wife for 1 year??? I feel like I am in PRISON. I am COVID FREE…

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 1:45 am

      Greg, if your wife is Thai, in Thailand, you’ve had no problem coming to Thailand.

      You have to quarantine, but you can quarantine together.

      … or, depending on your country’s regs, she can go to you.

      What’s stopping you?

      • Avatar

        Amy Sukwan

        Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 10:03 pm

        Isaan John you can’t quarantine together with your Thai wife unless she arrived with you from UK…and if she was with you in UK, why are you going?

  25. Avatar

    Crispy

    Monday, February 8, 2021 at 10:42 pm

    Can not issue passports until the worth of a vaccine, with its protection against mutants is known.
    It’s a legal minefield as having a passport would confer advantages and not having, disadvantages. Plus liabilities.
    Thailand needs to get on and protect its people. Then it can open up. Delay is e tremendous costly, costly on a daily basis.

  26. Avatar

    Wayne C

    Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at 4:06 am

    There’s more than one way to skin a cat .the simplest way for me to visit MyTai girlfriend she comes to the US.
    Then we go to the Caribbean islands.
    She lives in Phichit ,Phichit 35 minutes away from the Phitsunulok International airport.
    It’s quite simple for her to go both directions . when she goes home And lands at her international airport she’s capable of driving straight home to do her quarantine at home without it costing a dime.
    At this point time this is the only way for us . my doctor won’t sign fit the flight documents because I have cancer .
    In 6 to 7 months hopefully my problem will be solved . Thailand is no longer interested in Western tourist. They are now strictly interested in the Asian market . Because they spend the most amount of money in Thailand.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 1:56 am

      Wayne C, Phitsanulok’s actually a domestic airport, not an international one, and when she comes back here she’d have to do SQ (not self-quarantine at home), but what are you complaining about?

      The rules for you (and her) are exactly the same whether you’re a “Western tourist” or “Asian” – it makes no difference at all.

  27. Avatar

    James Pate

    Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at 5:05 am

    Of course Thai authorities would trash the idea of a vaccine passport. After all, it’s a foreign idea.

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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