An estimated 3,000 people had turned up at the vaccination centre, set up at the Angsana Laguna Phuket resort, officials have confirmed.
Local residents voiced their anger at officials managing the queue on Saturday, as they were forced to queue for hours, with no seating and no shade.
One clip shared online showed the local residents confronting the officials, challenging them as to why effort had been made to make the wait more comfortable.
The officials explained, “Everyone had to stand in line.”
One tent had been set up to provide shade for some of those waiting, but as the sun moved across the sky, people were left with no shade. Local residents challenged the officials, asking why they had not set up more tents to provide adequate shade, knowing that the people waiting were left to wait their turn in the sun.
Cherng Talay Kamnan (subdistrict chief) Jirayut Jirasunthornkul yesterday said that he had seen the clip posted online and assured that measures had been taken to avoid further unnecessary discomfort for those waiting to be vaccinated.
“Today was very good, organised, everyone was fine,” he said.
Mr Jirayut said that Saturday saw an exceptional number of people turn up at the vaccination centre, and the number of people coming to the vaccination centre was rising.
“With the third-dose vaccinations arriving, there are a lot of people. Plus there are Myanmar workers coming to receive their second injection. So there are more people every day,” he said.
“Our place is small too. People who come to be vaccinated have to face problems such as walking a long distance to the centre. The weather [on Saturday] was hot too. Therefore, problems arise if all things happen at the same. The officials involved take responsibility for what happened. Today, we have come to make more improvements so that everything went well,” he added.
Suchart Yuyen, a local village chief (Phu Yai Baan) who has already previously made headlines, said he witnessed the confrontation on Saturday. He said that he had also seen the video posted online, and said that he felt he had to apologise to the local community as well.
“The team of administrative volunteers will speak well and go to clarify so that people know and understand the reason why villagers were left standing in the sun. On the day of the incident, there were many people who came to be vaccinated. Normally, it is no more than 2,000 people, but on that day almost 3,000 people came for their injections, which resulted in people being left to stand outside the tent and wait in the sun,” Mr Suchart said.
“Today, the Kamnan has arranged for additional chairs to serve more people, and the team must apologise to the people for causing them to feel bad,” Mr Suchart said.
Ms Onanong Sisuk, who had travelled from Chalong to receive her third-dose ‘booster’ vaccine injection yesterday said the situation was much improved.
The staff provided good service, there were no problems,” she said.
“The day of the incident was probably due to the hot weather and many people were queuing up. Therefore, there was a conflict. We must sympathise with the staff, they too are both tired and hot,” Ms Onanong said.
“However, I would like to tell everyone that In hot weather, you need to be calm. Everything can be resolved if we talk to each other with empathy. Volunteers are unpaid but are dedicated to getting everyone vaccinated as well,” she said.