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US, NZ, Oz, Austrian citizens’ brief shot at Covid-19 vaccines

Neill Fronde



FILE PHOTO: United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Austria announced vaccines for expat citizens VERY briefly

Good news! Several foreign governments including the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Austria announced they would offer vaccines for their citizens currently in Thailand. But bad news – supplies ran out long before most people received any notification of the opportunity.

Many countries had claimed it was impossible to assist their expats in Thailand in getting vaccines, while France and China were easily able to offer vaccines to their citizens. Now a tiny supply came and went without a chance for most to get access to vaccination.

The US Embassy finally responded to angry expats who complained they pay US taxes (one of the few countries in the world that taxes citizens living abroad) but don’t even get vaccines as the US donated millions to Southeast Asia and Thailand. They posted around 8:30 am a notice that AstraZeneca vaccines would be available tomorrow at 4 pm in Bangkok, but the online registration form was closed within 2 or 3 hours.

Australia offered a similar flash sale on vaccines, posting this morning that vaccines would be available tomorrow at 1 pm for anyone who registered before 10 am, though the form remains open this afternoon. They say any application received now would be rejected.

Citizens in New Zealand got 2 extra hours to grab their spaces, though that window has closed already as well. Registration was through email, so there’s no registration page to check to see if it remains open or not. Similarly, Austria made an announcement this morning but accepted emails until 2 pm to try to receive one of the 100 vaccines allotted for Austrian citizens.

Vaccinations are set to be given tomorrow at 4 pm in the Bang Sue district of Bangkok at SCG Headquarters, which stresses that anyone without a confirmed appointment will not be given a vaccine. The vaccination opportunity seemed to materialize out of thin air with no information being shared in advance of registration and no details on how the quick window came about.

No one seems to know if this is a one-off chance for foreigners, offered and expired in just a few hours after months of expats struggling and begging for help procuring vaccines. There is nothing scheduled as of yet for future vaccinations for the people who missed this opening.

In the meantime, part of China’s 500,000 Sinovac vaccine donation was earmarked for Chinese nationals living in Thailand. And the French Ambassador said that thousands of French citizens over 55 years old had already received single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

SOURCE: Coconuts


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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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