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Why wasn’t the Thai deputy PM allowed into Switzerland?

Tim Newton




Sorry, must be another misunderstanding.

Poor Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul. The mercurial Thai deputy PM and leader of the Bhumjaithai political party, continues to be barred from entering Switzerland until he receives another booster Covid vaccine. But confusion surrounds his misgivings last week.

He was heading to a World Health Organisation meeting at the end of November but was told his vaccine record wouldn’t suffice for entry into the country.

Minister Anutin had already received 2 Sinovac Covid vaccines back in February, then later had an AstraZeneca ‘booster’ shot. But the Minister said this didn’t pass muster for the Swiss government who told him he’ll require an additional boost of the AstraZeneca-brand vaccine. This would allow him to enter Switzerland without having to do a quarantine upon arrival.

But a quick search on the internet shows that Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines are an approved vaccine for entry into Switzerland…

This means that all the vaccines listed below are recognised as valid proof of vaccination in Switzerland…

• Comirnaty Pfizer/BioNTech by BioNTech Manufacturing GmbH

• Spikevax, formerly Moderna by Moderna Biotech Spain, SL

• Vaxzevria, formerly AstraZeneca by AstraZeneca Ab

• Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) by Janssen – Cilag International NV

• BIBP/Sinopharm by Beijing Institute of Biological Products

• Covishield by Serum Institute of India

• CoronaVac by Sinovac Life Sciences (Sinovac)


But Thailand isn’t currently on Switzerland’s list of approved countries for entry, without quarantine, so was told he would need the additional booster of the AZ vaccine.

Last Thursday, addressing a ministerial meeting Anutin said that Thailand might be the first country to start adding a fourth shot to vaccine regimes. He admitted that Thailand’s current vaccines, and mixed doses, may provide ongoing problems for Thais, or people vaccinated in Thailand, when they travel overseas.

The Chinese manufactured Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines have not been given ‘approved vaccine’ status in some countries, although had been approved for travellers entering into Switzerland, but not for regular travel from Thailand (at this time).

Minister Anutin cited his example of Thais who might have trouble travelling abroad in the near future.


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Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2012. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for 41 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program (public radio Australia), presented over 11,000 radio news bulletins, 3,900 in Thailand alone, hosted 950 daily TV news programs and produced 2,100 videos, TV commercials and documentaries. He also reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and other major stories in Thailand. As founder of The Thaiger in 2016, Tim is the current CEO for company, based in Bangkok.

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