Their vaccinations had been postponed last Friday after several European countries had suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine on reports of adverse reactions in a small number of patients.
“It has been verified that there is no bad reaction from the AstraZeneca vaccine,” the prime minister said.
“Inoculations start today with the cabinet and government officials who come in close contact to a large number of people,” he added.
“This is to ensure safety and imbue confidence in the general public.
“What concerns me the most now is ensuring the vaccine reaches all people in at-risk groups as soon as possible,” Gen Prayut said.
He said the World Health Organization and the European Medicines Agency had confirmed the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“Today people can have confidence. The prime minister is not only important person. Everyone is important to their own family. Everyone is equally important. So we will speed up vaccinations as soon as possible,” Gen Prayut said.
During his 30-minute observation period after inoculation, the prime minister gave a brief talk that was broadcast live on the Government House Facebook page.
He said 116,520 doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been distributed through 13 provinces and 50,388 people were being inoculated.
He also said the government would allow the private sector to procure COVID-19 vaccines that had been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
“COVID-19 is under control and the country has enough vaccines for the early stage of inoculation.
“So we will ease measures to let people live normal lives in the new-normal way."
"This Friday the CCSA (Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration) will consider easing measures and allowing activities during the Songkran festival. The government must also take care of the economy,” Gen Prayut said.
A government official hosting the talk said people over 60 are getting the AstraZeneca vaccine and those under 60 years Sinovax, from China.
The prime minister is due to received his second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine on May 25.
After inoculating the prime minister, Prof Dr Yong Poovorawan, head of the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology at Chulalongkorn University, said more than 350 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, from at least 10 producers, were being used worldwide.
“The vaccines that are being used worldwide are safe because they have passed studies, from animal trials stages to human trials, which proved them to be safe, to stimulate immunity and have disease prevention efficacy,” he said.
“We can pass this crisis with vaccines. The virus has spread worldwide. We cannot eradicate it. We must adapt to co-exist with it. Vaccines are a way out,” Prof Yong said.