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Questions raised about when Covid-19 vaccine will be available to expats

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PHOTO: Lex18

Expats in Thailand might be in somewhat of a grey area when it comes to Covid-19 vaccines with Thai citizens likely to be the first priority during the rollout of vaccines.

For Americans, the US Embassy in Bangkok says the US government does not plan to provide vaccines for “private” Americans living overseas.

A representative from Thailand’s Disease Control Department told Coconuts Bangkok that free Covid-19 doses might become available to some foreigners.

“Foreigners who work and pay taxes in Thailand might get it, but I’m pretty sure they will have to wait behind Thai nationals, unless they have changed their nationality.”

Government spokesperson Kemmika Intanin told Coconuts Bangkok that specific conditions for Thais and expats receiving the vaccine haven’t been discussed.

The Thai government has plans to vaccinate half of the Thai population by the end of the year, starting with the most vulnerable first. The Thai company Siam Bioscience is in the process of producing AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine which was developed in partnership with Oxford University. That vaccine is planned to be available to the public in May.

In the midst of a new wave of Covid-19 infections, far exceeding the number of active cases in the first wave back in April, Thailand recently ordered vaccine doses from China’s Sinovac Biotech which are expected to arrive next month.

In an alert by the US Embassy in Bangkok regarding Thailand’s current Covid-19 situation, the embassy added that the US government doesn’t plan to provide foreigners overseas with Covid-19 vaccines.

As part of our efforts to give U.S. citizens timely information so that they can make informed choices about travel abroad, the Department advises that the United States government does not plan to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to private U.S. citizens overseas.  U.S. citizens traveling or residing overseas should follow host country developments and guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination. 

SOURCES: US Embassy | Coconuts Bangkok

 

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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