The call for people to register came at a special meeting of Phuket Communicable Disease Committee at Phuket Provincial Hall on Sunday (Mar 28)
“We will certainly receive 100,000 doses of vaccines in April, and we plan to administer injections to 50,000 people within seven days,” Governor Narong said.
“The 50,000 people will be mainly those who work in the tourism industry,” Governor Narong said.
“At this stage, 15,000 people have registered to be vaccinated. However, the vaccine will also be provided to officers and people from other industries who want to be vaccinated,” he said.
The push to get mass vaccinations underway is in line with the goal of opening Phuket to receive foreign tourists by July 1 without enforcing any quarantine, Governor Narong explained.
The Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration on Friday approved Phuket to receive vaccinated foreign tourists from July 1 under the ‘Phuket Tourism Sandbox’ plan on the condition that 70% of the island’s residents had also been vaccinated for the virus.
“For the Phuket Tourism Sandbox plan to open and welcome foreign tourists without quarantine from July 1, we will vaccinate our Phuket-registered people, those from other provinces but who work in Phuket, and foreigners,” Governor Narong said.
“We all have to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity as well as to boost confidence among foreign tourists [wanting to travel to Phuket],” he added.
“So, I want everyone to register for vaccination as fast as possible, in order to show our intention to the central government,” he said.
“Show them that we all will be vaccinated before July 1 in order to recover Phuket’s economy as soon as possible,” Governor Narong urged.
However, the logistics of how so many people in Phuket can receive vaccination injections in just seven days remains to be explained.
Repeated explanations by officials report that nine vaccination centres will be set up across Phuket. Administering injections to 50,000 people in just seven days will require each centre to vaccinate nearly 100 people an hour, every hour for eight hours a day, during the seven days.
However, the vaccination centre set up at Vachira Phuket Hospital in Phuket Town, according to the online registration form, is open only from 9am to 4pm.
Also not yet confirmed is when the vaccines will arrive. Governor Narong kept repeating “next month”, which starts on Thursday this week.
Another aspect that has raised much concern across the island is whether expats and retirees are included in the definition of “foreigners” when officials report who will be vaccinated.
The online form to register to be vaccinated is in Thai-language only and applicants must be Thai nationals. Applicants must enter a Thai government ID card number in order for the application to be accepted.
One foreign retiree reported to The Phuket News yesterday that he had presented himself at Vachira Phuket Hospital in person to register to be vaccinated at a later date, only to be declined as he did not have a Thai government ID card.