The request came in two official letters sent yesterday (Sept 28), one addressed to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Health, the other sent to the Ministry of Education.
In the letters, Governor Narong pointed out that Phuket was initially allocated Sinovac to vaccinate its residents in order to reopen the province to tourists under the Phuket Sandbox scheme, and allocated AstraZeneca to use as ‘booster’ shots to counter the spread of the Delta variant of the virus across the island.
However, he added, “One more factor that builds confidence for the people in Phuket is that the children would be more secure through receiving the vaccine.”
Phuket has a total of 83,267 children aged 3-17 years old, with 49,937 of those aged 3-11 years old, and 33,330 aged 12-17 years old, Governor Narong noted.
His request was simple: “We therefore ask for support as follows:
- Allocate Pfizer vaccine for children aged 12-17 years to Phuket Province, to start injections together with the control and maximum control (red and dark red) provinces on October 4, 2021
- Allocate Sinopharm vaccine or other vaccines for children aged 3-11 years as soon as the FDA has approved the use of the vaccine in young children.”
“Phuket Province [the provincial government] understands that when people in the province see comprehensive vaccination has been received in all groups, this will enable them to build confidence among the people and the parents in returning to open teaching as usual, which resulted in parents being able to return to work in support of the Phuket Tourism Sandbox project effectively,” Governor Narong explained.
“Therefore, please be informed accordingly. and if deemed appropriate, please refer to the Ministry of Health to please consider. We would be very grateful,” the letter concluded.
The request follows the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) undertaking a pilot project, vaccinating 2,295 students in the risk group of those with any of seven diseases, among more than 5,000 students who have registered for inoculation.
The students, including 1,681 who received their first dose and 614 who received their second, were given the Pfizer vaccine at the Faculty of Medicine Vajira Hospital, Nawamintrathirat University. No side-effects were reported, said a report by state news agency NNT.
Deputy Government Spokesperson Ratchada Dhnadirek said the government is preparing to inoculate more than 4.5 million students aged 12-18 with the Pfizer vaccine.
The Ministry of Education is currently surveying the number of students, with parental consent, before opening vaccine units in the areas of the educational institutions in each province.