During a live broadcast online this morning (June 2), as with the announcement yesterday, Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew again delegated the presentation of the announcement to Pracha Asawathira, a PhD academic with the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (M-DES) involved in the operation of the vaccination registration web portal ‘Phuket Must Win’ (www.ภูเก็ตต้องชนะ.com).
“Right now, 28,286 foreigners have registered to get vaccinated. On June 3-5, vaccines will be provided to foreigners who have work permits,” Mr Pracha said.
“The opening for vaccination time booking will be open at 9am. Only HR [human resources] of each company can make the booking for foreigners,” he added.
“The booking system will open for two rounds. The first round is opening at 9am for businesses in the tourism industry and education, and the second round will be at 2pm for businesses in other industries,” Mr Pracha said just after 7am today.
“The documents needed to be presented to get injected are your passport, visa and your real work permit [sic]. We will have officers from Phuket Immigration and the Phuket Provincial Employment Office check the documents at the vaccination centres,” he added.
While admitting that foreigners had already registered through the system to be vaccinated, Mr Pracha did not directly recognise that registrations for foreigners had been suspended by officials.
Previously, initially foreigners working with tourism-related businesses were allowed to register through exactly the same process Mr Pracha described this morning, followed by foreigners working for other types of businesses.
The registrations stopped after the Official COVID-19 Information Center Phuket announced on May 22 that Phuket Must Win would no longer accept registrations from Thais from June 5, and no longer receive registrations of foreigners after Tuesday (May 25).
The move created panic online by Thais wanting to register to be vaccinated.
Two days later, Phuket Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong called the move a “temporary suspension”. enacted to crack down on Thais not in Phuket registering just so they could be vaccinated for the virus.
Adding to the confusion for foreigners in Phuket looking to be vaccinated was the announcement on May 24 ‒ again by the Official COVID-19 Information Center Phuket, which touts itself as the official source of information in Phuket regarding COVID-19 to prevent fake news ‒ that foreigners in Phuket who had already registered to be vaccinated were to receive the Sinovac vaccine on May 30.
That never happened, with no notice and no explanation from Phuket officials.
The post caused mass confusion online, with foreigners presenting evidence that they had been informed by the Phuket officials that foreigners would be vaccinated in June and by “AstraZeneca only” ‒ in line with repeated explanations by leading Phuket health officials, including Vachira Phuket Hospital Driector Dr Chalermpong Sukontapol, who was present at this morning’s live broadcast.
Today, Phuket officials are announcing that registrations for foreigners to be vaccinated are open, as if they never were before.
Of note, The Phuket News already has readers confirming that their independent attempts to register had been refused. One reader pointed out that his passport number was not accepted
Neither Mr Pracha nor any of the officials present for the live broadcast today made any mention of which vaccines are to be administered to which groups. Phuket so far has only ever received deliveries of the Sinovac vaccine.
Dr Chalermpong this morning said that Phuket was expecting to receive doses of the Astrazeneca vaccine, but the number of doses to be received was inaudible due to a video being inserted in the live broadcast drowning out Dr Chalermpong’s voice.
The Phuket News is trying to confirm how many doses of AstraZeneca Phuket is expected to receive and when.
What was audible after the video insert stopped was that Phuket was expected to receive a further 12,320 doses of Sinovac arriving tomorrow (June 3).
Mr Pracha continued with his explanation that so far 279,943 people on the island had received their first vaccination injection, with 64.75% of those being people registered as living Phuket, and the remaining 35.25% are people registered as living somewhere else.