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

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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Caitlin Ashworth

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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