Don said this after one million doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine donated by the United States arrived in Thailand yesterday, reports the Bangkok Post.
He did not name the countres preapared to donate, saying the Ministry of Public Health had details.
Asked whether Thailand would be open to tourists from more than the 63 countries currently allowed to enter with minimal quarantine, Don said that was for the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration to decide.
He said countries considered low-risk may be added to the list. Tourists must comply with conditions stipulated by the government, especially the vaccination requirement.
“In order to draw tourists, stability is fundamental. Our country is already on top in terms of charm and attractions. All we need is stability. We must be stable and peaceful,” he said.
Don said stability did not apply only to politics, but to other factors also and particularly security and convenience. It was normal practice for travellers to look up information about a country they wanted to visit, he said.
Asked whether the current number of arrivals, about 80,000, was satisfactory, Don said the number depended on the situation in various countries, and whether their citizens were ready to travel and submit to the restrictions imposed by host countries.
The minister was speaking at Government House in Bangkok before going into the weekly cabinet meeting.
The donation from the United States yesterday is part of an effort to help vaccinate 70% of Thailand’s population.
The US embassy in Bangkok announced that the flight had arrived in the kingdom yesterday afternoon.
Michael Heath, the Charge d’Affaires of the US embassy, said it was the second batch of mRNA vaccines after 1.5 million Pfizer doses were delivered in July.
“This new shipment reaffirms our support to Thailand as we stand shoulder-to-shoulder to overcome this global pandemic,” Mr Heath said.
“While the first tranche of vaccines helped Thailand contain the COVID-19 outbreak, this second tranche will help Thailand reach its goal of vaccinating 70% of the population by January, paving the way for the country’s economic recovery,” he said.
Aside from 2.5mn mRNA vaccine doses, he said the US government has provided tens of million dollars in COVID-19 related assistance to Thailand since the outbreak started.
“We do not want to only donate, but we also want to help with the manufacturing of Thailand’s own vaccines, as we also provide help in developing mRNA vaccines in Thailand as well,” he said.
Dr Drew Weissman, from the University of Pennsylvania, is assisting Chulalongkorn University to develop the first-ever Asian mRNA vaccine known as “ChulaCov19”.
Sophon Iamsirithavorn, Disease Control Department deputy director-general, said the most recent batch of mRNA vaccines will be distributed to areas where the outbreak remains serious and it will also be used as a booster vaccine.
Dr Sophon highlighted the need for people near border areas to be vaccinated.
“Those at the border will be jabbed, both Thai and non-Thai as there are many people frequently crossing borders,” Dr Sophon said.