The clarification comes amid concern that deliveries of AstraZeneca vaccine doses to Phuket from the national government will be shorted as priorities rise elsewhere in the country.
“As for the AstraZeneca vaccine, we are still proceeding according to the original schedule for those over 60 years old, which we will start injecting on June 7, 2021,” Dr Chalermpong said via a post by the Phuket office of the Public Relations Department yesterday evening.
The post followed Dr Chalermpong’s clarifications yesterday morning.
The assurance comes as Phuket officials move to vaccinate migrant workers and foreign workers who have successfully registered through the vaccination registration web portal ‘Phuket Must Win’ (www.ภูเก็ตต้องชนะ.com).
Registrants were given just hours yesterday to book their preferred vaccination time, with the vaccinations to be rolled out today and tomorrow (June 3-4).
The vaccine to be used to inoculate non-Thais in the rush today and tomorrow will be doses leftover from previous deliveries, Dr Chalermpong confirmed, noting the push was “to move forward to build group immunity and prepare according to the Phuket Sandbox plan”.
Dr Chalermpong explained that 200,000 doses of vaccines were allocated to Phuket in May, which were used to provide first-jab vaccinations to people from May 18-31. Of that allocation, 177,978 doses were used, which left some vaccine doses remaining, he said.
“In addition, there is still a portion of the vaccine remaining from the allocation during April. In total, 29,690 doses of the Sinovac vaccine remained,” he said.
“The Communicable Disease Committee meeting resolved that in the COVID-19 outbreak situation in Phuket they had found that foreigners were infected, and migrant workers as well. So if Phuket is to open to tourists as planned, [we] must move on having to admit that the population of Phuket includes those registered in the civil registration database, and the latent population [those not registered in the civil registration database], which includes migrant workers and foreign workers,” he said.
“If one cluster of an outbreak occurs during this period, of course, Phuket Sandbox would not be able to open as scheduled for sure,” he added.
“Therefore, it is imperative to ask for the remaining almost 30,000 doses of the vaccine to be used to vaccinate migrant workers and foreign workers, by prescribing the vaccinations for people from this group who are registered through their employers and have their information checked by the provincial employment office, provincial labour office and immigration to confirm that they have been registered with a valid work permit,” he said.
“[The foreigners] will be injected between 3–4 June, which will be 22,613 migrant workers and 5,758 foreign workers,” he noted.
Dr Chalermpong also explained that Phuket had already started receiving doses of the Sinvovac vaccine in order to carry out second-jab injections, with 80,000 doses of Sinovac arriving in Phuket yesterday (June 2).
“A further 120,000 doses are to arrive next Wednesday (June 9)... The second-injection vaccinations will begin on June 11,” he said.
Of note, Dr Chalermpong made no mention of expats, including retirees, being able to register in person through “on site registration” at private hospitals where their medical records are kept or at any other venues designated by local officials, as announced by the central government in Bangkok.
The Phuket Must Win website now has a function to receive such registrations, but the web administration so far will not accept any registrations from foreigners unless they have a work permit, and are being registered by their employer.
Bangkok officials maintain that all expats in the country, including retirees, will be able to register for vaccination ahead of ’vaccinationation day’ next Monday (June 7).
So far no Phuket officials, not even Puket Governor Narong Wonnciew or Phuket Provincial Public Health Office (PPHO) Chief Dr Kusak Kukiattikoon, have publicly mentioned the national announcement of the registration of non-working foreigners being able to register for vaccination in Phuket.