The Thai government is looking at offering free Covid‐19 vaccines to migrant workers who are covered under the nation’s social security program. The Thai Ministry of Labour is set to discuss the move with the Social Security Board. If approved, over 2.3 million migrant workers would be inoculated for free, costing around 3 billion baht. The Labour Minister says migrant manual labourers are vital to Thai industries and the economy, therefore, they should not be left out of the vaccination program.
Frontline medical personnel, people who have been working in close contact with the infected, elderly people, those suffering from congenital diseases and people in high-risk areas are to be the first recipients of the vaccines, which could be either from Sinovac or Astrazeneca. After the highrisk groups are inoculated, the general public will follow with some tourist heavy areas to see expat residents included in the vaccination programme.
The Labour Ministry also plans to set up a hospital exclusively for people covered by the social security programme, as well as a social security bank to help people under the social security programme.
The move to cover migrant workers comes after Thailand closed at least 7 natural borders with the neighouring country of Myanmar as thousands of Burmese people are expected to flee to Thailand following the military coup in Myanmar. The Thai immigration police chief says he estimates around 400,000 Burmese migrants are looking to enter Thailand. He says the bounty for human traffickers has increased due to the political situation in Myanmar.
Illegal migrants to Thailand have been accused of spreading the Covid virus as many allegedly snuck into the country undetected after bribing border patrol police officers. Those who illegally entered, skirted mandatory quarantines and testing. At least 33 police officers and other government officials were investigated for their roles in the illegal smuggling of migrant workers into Thailand.
SOURCE: Thai PBS World
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