The next 1 million doses of Sinovac vaccine for Thailand is expected to arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport on Air China Flight CA603 from Beijing at about 5am on Thursday (May 6), Mr Bhummikitti said in a Facebook post earlier today (May 4).
“Under the original vaccine plan, Phuket was to receive 100,000 doses from this delivery. These vaccine doses were originally to provide the second vaccination injection for people who should have received their first injection from May 1-9,” he explained.
“If we could have followed the plan, by the end of May Phuket would have fully vaccinated about 44-45% of the island’s population,” he noted, adding that would have been “a percentage that is enough to bring bookings of Phuket’s main customers back to Thailand and stop bookings flowing to other attractions.”
However, the vaccine delivery to Phuket did not according to plan due to the severity of the current outbreak in other parts of the country, Mr Bhummikitti said.
“When doses of the vaccine which were supposed to be sent to Phuket can help our sisters and brothers in other areas, we, Phuket people, understand the need and are happy to give them the vaccines,” he said.
“But how likely is it for the government to approve a special channel for Phuket to provide their own vaccines?” he posed.
“The next batch of Sinovac [vaccine doses] will be about 500,000 more [doses], expected to arrive on Flight CA 603 scheduled to arrive at Suvarnabhumi on May 15.
“And the final batch will be another 2,000,000 doses, due to arrive at Suvarnabhumi, probably about May 29,” he said.
“In total, this May [Thailand] will receive 3,500,000 Sinovac [vaccine] doses. Phuket would like to receive its allotment of 200,000 doses, which is about 5% of the total [number of doses of Sinovac to be delivered to Thailand]
“5% of the number of doses coming this month will be enough for 100,000 people, which will allow for 45% of the [island’s] population to be vaccinated,” Mr Bhummikittia added.
The percentage of the island’s population fully vaccinated “is very important when negotiating in terms of global tourism,” he noted.
“Right now we can see the finish line ahead, but if the government is genuinely unable to provide Phuket with its allotment of vaccine doses, we will repeatedly ask for an express channel to purchase vaccines by ourselves under our own budget in order for Phuket to do what it needs to be done for Thailand, so that Thailand can continue to walk in the midst of a crisis,” he concluded.