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Thailand may offer free Covid vaccines for migrant workers covered by national social security program

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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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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Fred glue

    Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 1:49 pm

    May offer, C-19,,, so that’s a NO…

  2. Avatar

    Issan John

    Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 3:42 pm

    Why would it cost the government (or anyone) “around 3 billion baht” to vaccinate “2.3 million migrant workers”?

    Only yesterday the Thaiger reported that “the Thai government has approved a budget of 6.387 billion baht to procure an additional 35 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines.”

    Including admin costs of 700 million baht, with two doses each, that works out to 365 baht each while for migrant workers it’s 1,304 baht – that’s over 3.5 times the price!!!

  3. Avatar

    Nipral

    Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 3:45 pm

    Beforehand I suggest this sort-of-government secures vaccine supply for its population !!!

  4. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 9:22 pm

    Yes John, it seems a scam, but they are Thais!
    Face facts John. You are protecting lying cheating Thais. You are on the wrong side.

  5. Avatar

    Issan John

    Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 11:26 pm

    Not “protecting” anyone or on any “side”, Toby, hence my comment.

  6. Avatar

    Ian

    Friday, March 5, 2021 at 3:09 am

    Well that’s a first sitting on the fence ij but you still never knock the dictators shame on you day after day after day you just dont realise that you live as a asylum seeker year after year until theyve had enough of you on your 1yr visa thatsxwhy so so many farangs will never invest our fortunes in a country like this and this is so sad for the Thai people that money is not being invested ,I would gladly invest once this dictatorship goes until then I’ll keep my money invested in UK property’s not a mud hut in issan with a rice field that you can’t even farm cos your stuck on your commode daily spouting hatred to the west so sad

  7. Avatar

    brian mc

    Friday, March 5, 2021 at 6:34 am

    will this also apply to western workers who pay into the thai social welfare scheme, i wonder?

  8. Avatar

    Issan John

    Friday, March 5, 2021 at 1:26 pm

    “Western workers” don’t “pay into the thai social welfare scheme”, brian mc.

    Those on work permits pay into the Social SECURITY Scheme, just as legal migrant workers do.

    That’s not nit-picking as they’re two completely different schemes:

    Social welfare covers “welfare”, from the yellow card (hospital treatment), the blue card (Blue Flag, subsidised purchases) to allowances for the mentally handicapped, limited pensions, and the spate of recent Covid-related allowances and apps. They’re strictly for Thais – all Thais, as long as they’re in Thailand, regardless of where they live or are resident or if they’ve ever paid any income tax.

    Social Security mainly covers unemployment benefits, state pensions, and hospital treatment (non-yellow card). Only those who paid in to the Social Security Scheme, usually via income tax, are entitled to Social Security benefits – that excludes a lot of working-age Thais (as many as a third) but includes foreign workers, regardless of nationality, as long as they’re legal and pay tax.

    Two completely different systems.

    NEITHER is paying for the free vaccinations, for Thais or anyone else – these are funded from completely separate and specific government votes.

    So far this is ONLY for the first “set” of vaccinations (one or two jabs, depending on the vaccine) as nobody knows efficacy, duration, etc, yet, but in all probability they’ll continue to be free like polio and tetanus jabs (tetanus jabs are free in Thailand every ten years) for all Thais, unlike, say, ‘flu jabs which are charged for.

    The Social Security Board and Labour Ministry are involved not because they’d pay for any free jabs but only because it’s in Thailand’s interests to have as many as possible here vaccinated which the Labour Ministry are pointing out – particularly a couple of million migrant workers to avoid a repeat of Samut Sakhon-style outbreaks.

    Using those foreigners / non-Thais registered for Social Security, either as “normal”, legal migrant workers or under the recent amnesty is obviously the simplest way of registering eligibility for free vaccines, if approved, to avoid any foreigners (expats, farangs, Khmer, Burmese, or anyone else) just going to a Thai hospital this year, next year, or anytime and demanding a free vaccination.

    Foreigners working legally in Thailand registered under the Social Security scheme aren’t registered as “western workers” or “farangs” but just as foreigners and by nationality, so there’s no differentiation under the scheme between, say, a Philippino or Chinese working as a teacher or one working in a fish market.

    FWIW, Anutin has also recently said that the vaccine rollout (whenever it comes) will be for everyone “living in Thailand”, not just Thais, making your worries moot.

  9. Avatar

    Issan John

    Friday, March 5, 2021 at 3:41 pm

    FWIW, for those interested in the Thai Social Welfare system, rumour has it that the whole system of the Blue Card and assorted apps will be binned once the present “We Win” app finishes and everyone will have to re-apply and re-register.

    The old system was / is very unpopular as it was almost pot-luck who got some of it, with many having the Blue Card who were far better off than some who missed out, and some of the apps depending on your wi-fi connection speed / ISP rather than if you needed it or not.

  10. Avatar

    Ben

    Friday, March 5, 2021 at 8:51 pm

    If they want to re-invigorate the economy then they should vaccinate everyone without cost similar to the west. Don’t be pennywise and pound foolish. This is a good policy decision.

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Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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