Coronavirus (Covid-19)PhuketThailand

Americans in Thailand urge US to provide Covid-19 vaccines to citizens overseas

Stock photo by Mufid Majnun for Unsplash

Thai officials say expats living in Thailand will be included in the government’s mass Covid-19 vaccination plan, but exactly when that will be is still up in the air. With foreign embassies in Thailand clearly stating that they will not assist with providing citizens living overseas with vaccines, expats are relying on the Thai government.

A number of Americans are now urging the US government to provide Covid-19 vaccines to citizens living in Thailand. And with the recent outbreak linked to the more contagious variant of the virus, getting a vaccine in Thailand has become more pressing.

A “Covid-19 Vaccine Task Force” of Democrats Abroad Thailand members, as well as those from American organisations based in Thailand, is calling on the US government to deliver vaccines to citizens living in Thailand, chairperson of Democrats Abroad Thailand and a United Nations consultant, Paul Risley, told VOA.

“Americans who live abroad need to be vaccinated for the same reasons that Americans who live in the United States need to be vaccinated… Because it’s the only way to stop Covid-19.”

If an American were to travel back to the US for a vaccine, they would still need to stay in a hotel or certified facility for a 14-day quarantine at their own expense when re-entering Thailand. Along with getting together the required paperwork, they would need to go through numerous Covid-19 tests including before the flight, upon arrival and before being released from quarantine. The flights to and from the US can end up being more than 20 hours per trip and add up to thousands of dollars in travel costs.

For the vast majority of Americans in Thailand, flying back to the US is the only way to get vaccinated at the moment. The US Embassy in Bangkok says vaccines will not be provided for US citizens living overseas.

The Department of State does not provide direct medical care, including vaccinations, to private U.S. citizens abroad. We are committed to providing all possible consular assistance to U.S. citizens in need overseas, including by providing information on local medical resources when appropriate. Please follow host country developments and guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination.

At a recent Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration meeting, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said “all people who reside in Thailand, regardless of their nationality, are eligible to receive the vaccine under the government’s plan.”

Mass vaccination campaigns are being rolled out in high-risk areas, such as Bangkok’s Khlong Toey slum where a cluster of infections was reported, as well as Phuket and Koh Samui, tourist islands that are said to be of “economic significance.” Health officials are trying to hit herd immunity on the 2 islands to reopen to foreign tourists.

Expats in Phuket who have a valid work permit can now register for a state Covid-19 vaccine. The registration must be under the company name and expats are told to have the company’s human resources staff assist with the registration process.

While no official announcement has been made regarding expats in Koh Samui, some foreigners who work as English teachers on the island say they have received both doses of the Chinese-made Sinovac vaccine. Schools apparently helped with the registration process, but some teachers say they told to keep quiet about getting the vaccine. Some did not receive a vaccine certificate or any other documentation confirming that they are vaccinated against the coronavirus.


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Tanutam Thawan

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


  1. American expats, you are living overseas. By your own choice. You live in Thailand, therefore you are subject to laws, policies and procedures of that country. You want the vaccine, demand it from Thailand. Or go to the U.S. It’s your choice and not the responsibility of anyone else.

  2. American have to pay income taxes on money earned in Thailand yet we don’t use any of the infrastructure in the US or the schools or hospitals so what exactly are we paying for when we don’t get any support from America? No wonder more and more Americans are leaving the country.

  3. Are there really that many Americans living abroad who are at risk of covid?

    IMO if you are at risk of covid, you are probably at risk from many other things that you’ll be exposed to in the developing world. Death lurks everywhere here.

    Of course, most people aren’t calculating their actual risk. They’re consuming blabbering media stupidity and taking it for the gospel.

  4. Not a bad idea, not just for Americans but for all expats. It is much safer than having many people travel individually for vaccines and i imagine will also help ease some of the burden on the Thai govt already tied with securing enough vaccine for the general population. I understand arguments against this but if it brings faster vaccination for any segment of the population then i see the benefits outweighing the cons.

  5. Stupid.

    Embassies aren’t hospitals, and they’re not licenced or allowed to import or dispense drugs or vaccines in Thailand or anywhere else – the idea that embassies are “foreign territory” is a myth.

    The most any can do is what France did before and pay for vaccines for their nationals – not possible yet as there are none for sale.

  6. @Me Two They don’t need a license. Imported goods are diplomatic mail. And you can do whatever you want on embassy grounds.
    Some countries even use their embassy grounds to kill people and dissolve them in acid.
    A vaccination is really no problem.
    All it takes is a creative mind and willpower.

  7. Embassies are just another reminder that all taxation is theft, they aren’t here for you. Good luck trying to get them to, you know, arrange a potentially life-saving vaccine. And think how easy that would actually be, but no, far too much to ask.

  8. How about the foreign tourists stuck here, especially the older ones like us. The embassies ignore us the Thai government ignores us but they want our money. Good luck attracting tourists to come here. We’ve been coming to Phuket for the high season for more than 10 years from Malaysia on our boat which is our only home. Malaysia closed it’s ports to foreign yachts 18th of March 2020 so we cannot return. We are happy to pay for the vaccine.

  9. Next, they’ll want to be provided food stamps and US Government-provided housing while they are in Thailand as well. Maybe they’ll want their Obamaphones too.

    How about just not making me pay income tax on the money I earn while in Thailand and leaving me the hell alone.

  10. “And you can do whatever you want on embassy grounds.”

    No you can’t Michael – @Me two’s right: another myth.

    The embassy staff are covered by diplomatic immunity, and the drugs could be imported ss “diplomatic” as the ketamine was for the cave rescue, but it would be as illegal as Khashoggi’s murder was, except it would be more blatant.

  11. “How about the foreign tourists stuck here, especially the older ones like us … We are happy to pay for the vaccine”.

    How about all the Thais who are “happy to pay for the vaccine” too, @Svc?

    What makes you so special?

  12. The US government has decided not to specifically provide vaccines to expats living abroad. The Thai government has said it’ll provide the vaccines to everyone in the kingdom.

    Some expats don’t like the USA decision. Claim they’re paying taxes for nothing. If you really think that then why not renounce your citizenship and go find a country more to your liking to give you citizenship. Many are available but I’ll bet they won’t give their expats vaccines either.

    Truth is you like being American and realize many benefits come with citizenship. Just because you don’t get your way on this one thing you claim you get nothing for your tax dollar. If that’s true you’re pretty stupid for paying it.

  13. reality check says ” American have to pay income taxes on money earned in Thailand “. Being a USA citizen and working in Thailand for 8 years I don’t pay us tax (except Medicare and SS). Unless of course reality check makes over $72,000 a year. I live on per-diem with my check going directly into my US bank account. As for the “jab” just go to your local private hospital and pay. They will be happy to assist you. However, because you do not pay tax to Thailand you you cannot expect the same treatment as a Thai citizen.

  14. @Simon Small – Khashoggi’s murder had no consequences. Vaccinating US citizens in the US consulate in BKK will also have no consequences.

    All they need is the wish to solve a problem. All other talk, including yours, is 100% nonsense.

  15. @Alexandra -your comment disgust me.
    I pay altogether over 30KUS$ to IRS and others local US taxes every year. Covid response in the US was one of the worst in the world (still number one in the world in casualties). If US do not help their citizen, I prefer to die in Thailand this year than in US last year. At least US will no more get taxes from me.

  16. In mid 2020 when infections were rampant in the US, there were many smug expats who thought “now here’s why I live in thailand”. Well now its Crying Time in the Land of Falange Go Home. Understand this…most thais really don’t want you living there. Your money, YES but you NO. For them the ideal situation is for you to go, while your money stays. That’s a fact. AND , it’s not just Americans

  17. @reality check – You only have to pay taxes on income over 107,000 US dollars for the 2021 Tax year. I seriously doubt there are many expats making over 107,000 US dollars in Thailand.

  18. @reality check – actually you don’t need to. It’s called FEIE Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. You need to report your income, but the money you make is excluded from federal taxes.

    If you work for a US company, then the money is returned to you if withheld. If you work for a thai company, you don’t need to pay them at all. Hopefully most are aware of this

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