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Phuket vaccination push riddled with confusion and claims

Phuket vaccination push riddled with confusion and claims

PHUKET: The push to vaccinate as many people as possible before the July 1 deadline next Thursday took another hit yesterday (June 24) as foreigners were turned away from vaccination centres after presenting themselves for their second injection as instructed by Phuket health officials.

COVID-19CoronavirusVaccinehealthtourismeconomics
By The Phuket News

Friday 25 June 2021, 12:03PM


While foreigners were being turned away at the vaccination centre set up at the Central Phuket shopping mall, The Phuket News was receiving confirmed reports of foreigners receiving their vaccination injections as previously organised at other centres, including at the Jungceylon shopping center in Patong and at the Angsana Laguna Phuket resort in Bang Tao, Cherng Talay.

The Phuket News also confirmed that some foreigners did receive their second vaccination injection at the Central Phuket centre earlier in the day yesterday, in the morning, before foreigners at about midday were told to come back later “at their scheduled appointment”.

“Check your SMS” one staffer at the processing tables set up in the Central Phuket car park told foreigners arriving yesterday afternoon.

However, many foreigners have confirmed that they have not received any SMS messages at all from the ‘Phuket Must Win’ website ‒ the only way for anyone in Phuket to register to be vaccinated for a state-provided COVID vaccination. The foreigners became aware of their scheduled vaccination appointment only by repeatedly rechecking the website themselves.

Among those presenting themselves for vaccination yesterday were those who were told specifically by health officials on June 3 to ignore the SMS and registration information on the Phuket Must Win website. Many of those foreigners had June 24 as their next vaccination appointment handwritten on their vaccination injection ‘receipt’ provided to them on June 3.

Meanwhile, vaccination of Thai nationals at Central Phuket yesterday proceeded smoothly.

Phuket health officials as of today (June 25) have still not provided any notice to foreigners that their vaccination injection appointments may have been rescheduled.

So far, unlike repeated announcements for different groups of Thai nationals wanting to be vaccinated, Phuket health officials have posted only one sentence announcing that registration of foreigners without work permits is now open through the Phuket Must Win website. 

That was on Thursday last week (June 17) ‒ 10 days after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in Bangkok that all foreigners in Thailand ‒ especially including expats and retirees ‒ would be able to register to receive a state-provided vaccine from June 7.

Of note, Phuket officials have never recognised that foreigners would ever be able to register in person at a hospital where their records are being kept, as announced on May 21 by Natapanu Nopakun, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Information and Deputy Spokesman of the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Meanwhile, private organisations, such as Bangkok Hospital Phuket, have posted their own notices to inform foreigners that they may now register to be vaccinated.

Since the announcement last Thursday that non-working foreigners in Phuket can register to be vaccinated, a flood of comments online and direct reports to The Phuket News confirmed inconsistent ability of non-working foreigners in Phuket being able to register to be vaccinated.

Some people have been able to register and received confirmation by SMS, others have been able to register but received no confirmation at all, others simply have been unable to register at all.

‘PHUKET IS READY’ CLAIMS

QSI International School Phuket

While Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow and other top-ranking officials, including Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Yuthasak Supasorn and Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn are being told that “Phuket is ready” to reopen to receiving vaccinated foreign tourists from next Thursday, Phuket officials at the same time are still reporting that that the number of people registered to be vaccinated has not even reached the target set in order to achieve herd immunity against the COVID virus.

According to the latest mass vaccination update reported by the Phuket Provincial Public Health Office (PPHO) this morning (June 25), as of yesterday only 419,397 people in Phuket have registered to be vaccinated.

That number is more than 46,000 people short of the target 466,587, which has long been held as the number representing 70% of the island’s resident population ‒ and held as the people needed to be vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity against at least the initial strain of COVID-19, for which the island is being vaccinated.

In local and even national officials announcing the Phuket Sandbox model last month, having 70% of the island’s population vaccinated for COVID-19 was described as a critical factor without which the reopening to foreign tourists could not go ahead. Over the past week, that factor is no longer being recognised by any officials.

At the main Phuket COVID vaccination centre at the Indoor Sports Stadium in Saphan Hin, Dr Withita Jaeng-iam, Deputy Director of Primary Care at Vachira Phuket Hospital, told The Phuket News yesterday (June 24) that the current focus of the mass-vaccination is to provide second vaccination injections

“For number of people who have received vaccination injections, 75% [of the target set], or 350,000 people, have received their first injection, while the number of people who have received their second injection and are fully vaccinated is about 50% [of the 466,587 target]," she said.

“Right now we are providing the second injection of the Sinovac vaccine at all [vaccination] stations,” Dr Withita said.

In addition to the Indoor Sports Stadium at Saphan Hin, the Jungceylon shopping mall in Patong, the Central Phuket shopping mall in Kathu and Angsana Laguna Phuket resort in Bang Tao, Cherng Talay, vaccinations are also being provided at Phuket International Airport and at the Phuket Orchid Resort and Spa Hotel in Karon.

“For the new batch of AstraZeneca, we will keep providing that to people too,” she added.

Dr Withita is confident Phuket will vaccinate 70% of the island’s population before next Thursday.

“Our record is vaccinating about 17,000 people in one day, but normally we provide vaccinations to about 12,000-13,000 people per day,” she said.

“For the opening on July 1, I think we can accomplish the goal of giving two injections to 70% of people, as we still keep providing injections every day. I think we can make it,” she said.

Additional reporting by Eakkapop Thongtub

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Christy Sweet | 01 July 2021 - 15:40:36

Kurt, It's too late registration on PMW.com is  closed to non work permit foreigners. The line @PhuketWin was to ask questions and get appointments as far as I know, it too has been removed from the page. Maybe we'll be able to get a better vaccine once the Delta + takes hold.  Double mask up. Get a face shield and wear glasses on essential trips only- particles come in through the eyes, t...

Kurt | 01 July 2021 - 01:19:41

@Timothy. Can you tell me what 'address' I have to type in Line to register for Covid vaccination? Thx in advance.

Christy Sweet | 30 June 2021 - 20:02:33

For non work permitted foreigners, the  Phuket Must Win vaccination site now advises after 24 hours of not being approved,   to "contact immigration." When you contact Immigration the person answering emits shrieks,  epithets and giggles before  someone else comes on  to  tell you to "cothwack  ewashun" and slams the phone down.  Translation please. 

ematt | 29 June 2021 - 10:43:42

Thank you Dave C for all of your efforts to help others. 

Christy Sweet | 29 June 2021 - 10:41:21

Timothy, thanks but no Line on  the bootleg XP software, however a nice K. Pracha from DEPA informed me it is likely a problem with immigration records and to contact them. I suggested he put that on the website for others to see. If you go to a hotel for one night, and do not report to immigration, your registry will show that hotel as your permanent address, apparently.  

Timothy | 29 June 2021 - 10:00:52

Christy, I was not sent an SMS and tried to check for my appointment on Phukewin. It doesn't work. The Line app works. It shows I have an appointment on July 5 and July 22nd. You can install Line on your laptop.  

goldwing | 29 June 2021 - 06:07:33

got vaccinated at X Terminal Phuket airport yesterday,1 hr 40 minutes including 30 minutes observation. Very well organized, but agree that an idiot in uniform kept using a loudhailer to yell at farangs in Thai

Dave_C | 28 June 2021 - 21:14:15

I absolutely appreciate all you well meaners. I got my jab today and I am not in this to be popular. This is a very serious matter and I will share my best knowledge. Do you see any advertising on my website ???
No time for detractors as kryptiic as they may be.

Kamala Pete | 28 June 2021 - 18:04:51

The wife and I got jabbed today at the airport. Only 3.5 hours., but well organised. Only problems were an immigration police bod who screamed in thai, loud, hard and aggressively for several minutes at a group of well behaved farangs who had no idea what his problem was. This was later followed by being covered in smoke by another IP who was vaping in the recovery area!  I 

Christy Sweet | 28 June 2021 - 15:52:05

 DEPA answered via FB messaging and told me to "Contact Line@Phuketwin" but I already explained  I don't have Line nor can I get Line on my phone. Is it required and that is the problem?  Why have a telephone number if no one ever answers it? 

ematt | 28 June 2021 - 15:08:54

OK Christy ignore what I said. You should follow Dave’s advice. 

maverick | 28 June 2021 - 15:00:33

My wife and I had our jabs today - whole process from registration to receiving the jab this morning was exceptionally well run, lots of English speaking volunteers and helpful staff we were in and out in just over 80 mins, including the 30 mins of observation - well done :-) 

Christy Sweet | 28 June 2021 - 14:06:02

Thank you Ematt and Dave C., for your courteous responses. I had read somewhere " no more jabs for foreigners after July 1" so my window may be closing. As usual in Thaidom,  it is the lack of response or info  that is most distressing- not the wait.  

Dave_C | 28 June 2021 - 13:50:27

Relief for people with Registration problems. Thai Visa sub forum -
Phuket Vaccination Sign-up Site Now Open For All Foreigners
Look at a very recent oldcpu post. Thai Immigration may be able to help.

Dave_C | 28 June 2021 - 13:09:42

@ematt. The website only opened for registrations 11 days ago which means that Christy was one of the first to apply just like myself. Also got jabbed today and yes it was well organized. The fact is hardly anybody and nobody to my personal knowledge got an SMS. Even though you may mean well telling her to continue to wait is just bad advice. I wish I could share my awareness of the problems.

ematt | 28 June 2021 - 11:55:53

Christy you might have to just wait. It took several weeks until I received an SMS. But eventually it came, and I received the Astra jab this morning. BTW, the process was extremely well organized and efficient. I was in and out in hour. Everyone was helpful and friendly. No sneering or inept people involved. 

Christy Sweet | 28 June 2021 - 11:41:04

Now on day 11 of "Registration pending approval" at the PMW website.  The DEPA (webmaster)  does not respond. The Or Bor Tor does not assist, the Phuket Prov office does not assist. So what is to be done about  an inability  to register for a vaccine?  

Dave_C | 28 June 2021 - 04:01:00

To those with vaccination problems, from what I am hearing, it appears showing up at the vaccination centre with a barcode (anybodys barcode) is working.

Dave_C | 27 June 2021 - 08:17:38

I'm reliably informed the the Orbortor's are showing little interest in Expat registration problems. (They are good for Thai nationals.)

You can try depa.or.th  the Digital Economy Promotion Agency website, There is a chat line (typical replies within 1 day - as quoted)

Failing that - Your local consulate or showing up at a vaccination centre and asking questions.

ematt | 26 June 2021 - 19:59:05

“ tell these idiots you aren’t leaving until they do their job.” Yes that should work LOL. 

Christy Sweet | 26 June 2021 - 14:51:14

I'm not going to bother with the inept, snickering  OrBorTor personnel.  DEPA.or.th is the dept that runs that PMW registration site so have sent a message via the email on the site,  the P.M. function and their Facebook page messaging and will attempt calling on Monday.   

ooooonahs | 26 June 2021 - 10:36:50

Yep the dumb [person] on the microphone after first shots at central said to ‘ignore the app’ and use the slip only. I’m told Sunday 27 is Farang day. For anyone who couldn’t get their second shots on 24/25 and was turned away I suggest you just turn up tomorrow(27) as early as possible tell these idiots you aren’t leaving until they do their job. Absolute morons running this island.

Dave_C | 26 June 2021 - 06:09:34

Sorry - phuket-expat-vaccinations.com

Dave_C | 26 June 2021 - 06:07:42

I have reproduced the following from phuket-expat-registrations.com
If you make a mistake in your registration, unfortunately, there is no facility to change your input and you cannot resubmit because you will get a duplicate passport number error.
You need to contact the Orbortor (Head of your local Council) and explain to them you cannot change your input.

Nasa12 | 26 June 2021 - 06:05:33

I also got vaccine last day in Karon, never get sms from winphuket app. Must log in and check myself, took 3 1/2 hours from when I arrived to finish.  Thought it was well organized to be TH.  Must have been 2000 ++ people this day.

 

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