“There are about 58,000 people who are 12-18 years old. The Phuket Governor [Narong Woonciew] and I have already filed a request to the subcommittee of the CCSA [Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration],” Mr Phiphat said at Phuket Provincial Hall yesterday (Aug 2).
“The Prime Minister has already acknowledged the request,” he added.
“The request also includes the vaccine doses to be given as the ‘third’ dose for Phuket people. However, the request will be discussed again at a meeting of the main CCSA committee later,” Mr Phiphat said..
The move to have teenagers in Phuket vaccinated follows the state mass vaccination campaign in Phuket grinding to a halt, with very little progress over the past month.
It was not confirmed which vaccine was requested with which to vaccinate Phuket’s teenagers.
Mr Phiphat, who is staying in Phuket for 14 days after returning from the Olympics in Tokyo, also gave his appraisal of the performance of the Phuket Sandbox, which has been open to foreign tourists for a month since launching on July 1.
“More than 14,000 tourists have come to Phuket, and only less than 1% of them have tested positive and received treatment on the island. The percentage is considered very low,” he said.
“So according to that, the Phuket Sandbox will continue. However, we need to make sure that the opening will boost the island’s economy and make people happy, and worry less about infection,” he added.
Leading Phuket tourism business figure Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, President of Phuket Tourist Association, also joined the meeting and explained that the number of Sandbox tourists in July was only 1% of the number of tourists that arrived during July before the pandemic.
“We have about 400-450 tourists coming to the island each day, while we used to have about 43,000 tourists coming per day before the pandemic happened,” Mr Bhummikitti said.
“We consider the number as an interesting starting point because we never expected to have a very high number of tourists coming, as it may increase the risk of infection on the island,” he said.
“After this, the percentage will gradually increase to 2, 3, 10 or 20% [of pre-pandemic figures],” Mr Bhummikitti added.
“I like to think of Phuket Sandbox as a shop that has three shareholders: officials, the private sector and the people. If we all agree to keep the shop open, then the shop will stay open,” he said.