Speaking after a meeting of national committee on vaccine, Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, who headed the meeting, said the ministry is adjusting its plan for a mass vaccination scheduled to take place next month.
Mr Anutin said the plan covers a walk-in service nationwide and the ministry was introducing a new application for vaccine registrations for those who request one.
The ministry had to adjust the plan to provide alternative channels for people to have access to the COVID-19 vaccine, he said.
He also said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha voiced concerns during a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, saying the number of people who have registered for vaccination programmes was below target.
He proposed the walk-in service for those who want to receive COVID-19 vaccines across the country.
“The ministry is ready to back the prime minister’s idea and it has assigned the Department of Disease Control to design a proper format to enable vaccine recipients as much as possible,” he said.
“I don’t want anyone who walks in to be rejected.
“We have tried our best to provide public health services to people.
“Each provincial committee on communicable disease will take into consideration proper places and the number of vaccines to be provided for the walk-in service.”
The government’s hopes to vaccinate en masse people who have received a low response from the targeted group since the ministry launched the Line account “Mor Prom”.
The account was set up for vaccine registration, targeting around 16 million people who are aged over 60 and who have seven types of chronic diseases.
Meanwhile, Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, chief of the Department of Disease Control, said the service will help improve rollout to the public without any limitations.
Meanwhile, the first COVID-19 vaccination centre outside a hospital in Bangkok was opened yesterday at the CentralPlaza Ladprao shopping complex.
The opening was attended by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha who praised the private sector for rallying behind the government’s drive for the national vaccination campaign.
The centre was operated jointly by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, the Thai Chamber of Commerce and Ramathibodi Hospital.
About 1,000 people who had registered for vaccinations via the “Mor Prom” app received jabs at the centre yesterday.
Most of them were government officers, COVID-19 prevention volunteers and people in high-risk groups.
The vaccination centre at CentralPlaza Ladprao is open from 8:30am–5pm every day until all the registered vaccine recipients are vaccinated.
Gen Prayut thanked the private sector for its cooperation in delivering the vaccine shots and he believed many more businesses will open their premises to carry out vaccinations.
“We must eradicate fears of the COVID-19 vaccine. The government can confirm that all the imported COVID-19 vaccines are thoroughly inspected.
“Our inspection is probably more stringent than in other countries,” he said.
The government will roll out mass vaccinations starting next month with the goal to speed up national immunisation. The immediate goal is to finish the vaccinations of all frontline medical and healthcare workers this month, the premier said.
The government is also expediting inoculation in areas with high rates of infections such as in Samut Sakhon and the Klong Toey community in Bangkok.
Next month, mass vaccinations of the first dose will be launched for people in high-risk groups such as the elderly aged 60 and over and people with underlying diseases. People in other age groups will be inoculated right after that, he said.
Gen Prayut also expressed his concern over people who frequently travel for work or those who have to meet many people such as delivery service workers, public drivers, convenient store employees, restaurant employees and those in the hospitality sector. The government is working to give them vaccinations quickly.
More than a dozen non-hospital vaccination centres will be opened in Bangkok. The number will soon increase to 25 in Bangkok before branching out to the provinces, he said.
Gen Prayut added that the government has increased COVID-19 vaccine supplies from 100 million to 150 million doses - the first 100 million doses of which are already secured. A huge batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured in Thailand will be delivered at the end of this month, he said.
Wallaya Chirathivat, Central Pattana deputy CEO, said CentralPlaza Ladprao is the first shopping mall in Bangkok with a COVID-19 vaccination site.
The shopping mall was chosen as a vaccination site by the BMA, disease control committees and the Thai Chamber of Commerce.