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Thailand plans to include 3 million foreigners in mass vaccination program

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The Thai government says it is planning on including 3 million foreigners in its mass Covid-19 vaccination program in an effort to protect the entire population. Opas Kankawinpong, the head of the disease control department, has confirmed the news, saying that anyone can get the vaccine if they want it.

“Anybody living in Thailand, whether they be Thai or foreign, if they want they vaccine, they can get it. No one is safe until everyone is safe.”

But the announcement is also peppered with caveats, including that foreigners will have to wait their turn. (The Thaiger will publish all the latest information from the government about foreigners registering for vaccines)

Expats have been voicing their concerns in the past few weeks about, what they say, is a lack of public information, confusion over private vaccines, and problems registering on apps. The mass immunisation program hasn’t started yet, but the government is sticking to its previous announcement that major tourism areas will open in July to vaccinated travellers.

The plan was contingent upon 70% of local residents being vaccinated in order to achieve a herd immunity to the virus. But 50 million Thais and 3 million foreign residents would need to be inoculated over the next few months.

Anxiety over the massive amount of people who have yet to receive even their first dose is growing, as the country deals with its largest outbreak of Covid since the pandemic began. Reports of only frontline workers as having received the vaccines from the stock of 2.5 million Sinovac vaccines, have left critics saying that the government’s slow vaccine rollout is not helping the latest wave.

Meanwhile, another 1 million Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine doses from China arrived in Thailand while another batch of 500,000 doses will arrive next week. The Government Pharmaceutical Organisation formally accepted the delivery at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport this morning.

More than 2/3 of deaths in Thailand from the virus have been recorded just in the past month alone. But new, daily infections have been hovering around the 2,000 mark since the middle of April. The Public Health Ministry says it is working on other ways to communicate with foreigners about getting the jabs.

Friday Thailand reported 2,044 new Covid-19 infections and 27 deaths.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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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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