Thailand’s deputy PM and public health minister says the AstraZeneca vaccine is the nation’s first choice for protecting itself against Covid-19. Anutin Charnvirakul says more than 150,000 have received AstraZeneca jabs with only a low percentage having developed side effects.
But the low amount of side effects seen is a different tune to the vaccine’s previous safety concerns as other countries had recently stopped its administration over fears of it being linked to blood clots. Thailand joined Germany and the Netherlands in suspending its use until further clarification was made regarding the vaccine’s link to blood clotting.
The World Health Organisation responded to the concerns by saying the vaccine’s benefits outweighed any risks that could be associated with it. AstraZeneca also responded by saying there is no direct link to blood clots and the vaccine. Thailand currently is waiting for more deliveries of the vaccine, which should arrive in June. China’s Sinovac Biotech vaccine is also being used in Thailand, but Anutin says AstraZeneca is Thailand’s number 1 choice.
Recently, the government has approved the reopening of Phuket in July, along with a later, nationwide reopening to international tourists by October. The Phuket “Sandbox” plan, however, is contingent upon achieving a herd immunity, or 70% of the local population, by administering the vaccine. The government has also decreased the quarantine time for tourists entering Thailand, as long as they don’t hail from a country that features a virus variant. For those coming from virus variant featuring countries, the normal mandatory quarantine time of 14 days still applies. Those who are vaccinated, can enter Phuket without undergoing quarantines as long as they have proper documentation.
“We want to make sure that our people are safe, that is our first priority. So once our people are safe, we believe that our guests, namely tourists or any business people, would definitely come to visit our country.”
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