Dr Kusak Kukiattikoon, Chief of the Phuket Provincial Public Health Office (PPHO), announced the news on Tuesday (Dec 21).
Joined by Dr Weerasak Lorthongkham, Director of Vachira Phuket Hospital, Dr Kusak said that the push to continue with yet another round of vaccinations aims to protect local residents from all forms of COVID-19.
The move comes as Phuket health officials are pushing hard to have the island vaccinated with third-dose booster injections, Dr Kusak said.
As of Tuesday (Dec 21), of the target 547,584 people in Phuket to be vaccinated for COVID-19, 479,524 had received one vaccine injection. Of those, 462,550 had received two jabs, and 264,153 people had received third-dose booster jabs.
“Right now we are focussing on those who have received two doses of AstraZeneca. People who received their second dose of AstraZeneca more than 3 months ago can now register through PhuketMustWin [website] to receive a third dose of vaccine, either Pfizer or Moderna,” he said.
“This is to stimulate the immune system to a higher degree of response, in order to protect against all forms of the disease, no matter which variant,” Dr Kusak continued.
The mass vaccination push will continue into the new year.
“The first of the Sinovac+Sinovac+AstraZeneca group will complete six months since their last injection in February. Therefore, the fourth vaccination injection campaign in Phuket will occur before anywhere else in Thailand,” Dr Kusak said.
“From January, anyone who has been vaccinated with Sinovac+Sinovac+AstraZeneca can receive a booster vaccination of Pfizer or Moderna during January-February onwards to make Phuket people highly immune to all strains of the coronavirus,” he added.
“This is to confirm that we are working to protect Phuket people further from variants brought into the country, and we are continuing our screening of foreigners to prevent infections in Phuket,” he said.
“We have to learn to live with COVID,” Dr Kusak noted. “We used to have more than 100 new cases a day, but yesterday [Dec 20] we recorded 44 new cases, and the day before that just 28.
“The number of new cases has fallen, but we must keep our guard up. We cannot let it return to more than 100 new cases a day.
“We’re better now [than before], so the new year countdowns will go on, but we need cooperation from business operators, parents, brothers and sisters, to be careful during the new year when going out to eat or to celebrate and see in the new year,” Dr Kusak said.
“I ask everyone to maintain social distancing, and where they can choose to eat outdoors. Celebrating the new year together still brings risk, but at least by taking precautions we can still allow the atmosphere of Phuket tourism to continue,” he said.