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Mass vaccination campaign starts today, first phase includes foreigners in “at risk” groups

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/กรุงเทพมหานคร โดยสำนักงานประชาสัมพันธ์

“All foreign nationals on Thai soil are included in the national vaccination programme.”

Thailand’s nationwide mass Covid-19 vaccination campaign officially started today. For foreigners living in Thailand, those who are 60 years old and above as well as those with certain underlying health conditions, will be given priority during this phase of vaccinations.

In Phuket and Koh Samui, tourist destinations said to be of “economic significance,” have already opened up registration for vaccinations for expats who work on the islands in an effort to reach herd immunity and reopen to foreign tourists by next month. Many expats who work as English teachers on Koh Samui have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Some say their employer assisted with the registration process.

Thailand first started its Covid-19 immunisation campaign on February 28 with Public Health Minister Anutin Charvarnikul the first in the country to be injected with China’s Sinovac vaccine. PM Prayut Chan-o-cha was later administered with the AstraZeneca vaccine due to concerns about the Sinovac vaccine for those over 60. The vaccine has since been declared safe and effective for healthy adults over 60 years old. Both are approved for emergency use by the World Health Organisation.

Since February 28, more than 4.2 million vaccine doses have been administered, according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Natapanu Nopakun, who gives the daily Covid situation report in English. Both the Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines, which are being used in Thailand’s immunisation campaign, need 2 doses to be effective against the coronavirus.

With more doses of China’s Sinovac vaccine shipped to Thailand and doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine produced locally by Siam Bioscience now available, Thailand is now accelerating vaccinations. Over just 2 hours this morning, 986 vaccination centers have opened up in Thailand and more than 140,000 people have been inoculated.

Many provinces have already begun public relations campaigns for vaccinations for foreign residents including Phuket, Chiang Mai, Koh Samui and Hua Hin, Natapanu says.

“All foreign nationals on Thai soil are included in the national vaccination programme.”

In the current phase of vaccination, those eligible are expats who are 60 years old and above as well as foreigners who have the following underlying health conditions that put that at risk of a severe Covid-19 infection: severe chronic respiratory disease, cancer treated with chemotherapy, 5th stage chronic kidney disease, coronary artery disease, diabetes and obesity. Those with underlying illnesses will need to provide a copy of their medical records and prescriptions.

To register for a vaccine, Natapanu says foreigners in Bangkok and Chon Buri should visit thethailandintervac.com, which is run by the Department of Disease Control.

The US Embassy in Bangkok recently sent an email to American citizens in Thailand on vaccine registration opening for foreign nationals.

Eligible U.S. citizens should first attempt to register at the hospital at which they have a medical record. If you currently do not have a medical record with a local hospital, the website lists other vaccination locations and their readiness status. U.S. citizens will be able to register online or at a hospital which has your health records by using (1) Thai social security numbers, which are associated with Thai work permits, or (2) your passport.

U.S. citizens should note the following: (1) the vaccination campaign will prioritize vaccinating vulnerable populations (people over the age of 60, frontline healthcare workers, and people living and working in high-risk areas) before expanding to the general public; and (2) the Royal Thai Government is still in the process of obtaining the 40 million doses necessary to meet their 100 million dose goal and distributing these across the country. U.S. citizens may not be able to receive a vaccination immediately after registration.

Mass vaccination campaign starts today, first phase includes foreigners in “at risk” groups | News by Thaiger

 

 

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Local Thai journalist speaking fluent Thai and English. Tanutam studied in Khon Kaen before attending Bangkok’s Chulalongkhorn University.

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