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Vaccination walk-ins delayed

THAILAND: Walk-in services for COVID-19 vaccination will not be ready until next month, authorities said yesterday (May 13).

By Bangkok Post

Friday 14 May 2021, 10:07AM

A woman puts on a long glove before having her blood pressure taken yesterday ahead of her COVID-19 vaccine at Samyan Mitrtown shopping mall in Bangkok’s Pathumwan district. Photo: Somchai Poomlard.

A woman puts on a long glove before having her blood pressure taken yesterday ahead of her COVID-19 vaccine at Samyan Mitrtown shopping mall in Bangkok’s Pathumwan district. Photo: Somchai Poomlard.

The message disappointed many people after the government announced on Wednesday that its walk-in services would be available in any province that was ready to give free jabs to those who wanted them.

Many people yesterday contacted hospitals to book their shots and some even walked into vaccination sites requesting them but they were disappointed as authorities said there were no vaccines available on a walk-in basis.

“I told the BMA and the ministry to clarify to prevent any misunderstandings. The services will be ready by June,” said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

He said he had told the Public Health Ministry and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) to make things clear.

“I confirm the government plans [to offer] walk-in services if there are enough vaccine doses,” Gen Prayut said after inspecting Chulalongkorn University’s vaccination service.

“Every day, we will have vaccine doses in reserve. Rest assured, everyone will receive the vaccine shots for sure.”

Gen Prayut also said the government attached great importance to the industrial sector for its role in creating jobs and exporting goods, key sources of income for the country.

It was therefore important to step up surveillance against transmissions at factories.

However, he said he was also concerned for all eateries and the service sector as a whole, which has lost much of its income during the pandemic.

The government will take care of all sectors, the PM promised, including factory workers, public bus drivers, taxi motorcycle riders, taxi drivers and delivery service men.

The prime minister insisted that the AstraZeneca vaccine would arrive in Thailand next month as planned.

“Mr Anutin [Charnvirakul, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health] has confirmed there won’t be any delay,” the PM said.


Mr Anutin assured yesterday that AstraZeneca and local licensee Siam Bioscience would provide its vaccines as promised.

The country has also stockpiled the Sinovac vaccines from China, he said.

“The companies have told us that the vaccines are now in containers and waiting for a right time for shipment,” Mr Anutin said.

“We will see mass vaccinations starting by next month when we have many millions of doses on our hands.”

The country originally planned to kick off mass vaccinations from June 7 and soon after achieving herd immunity by vaccinating 50 million people, equal to 70% of the population.

But as only 10% of the 16 million targeted people - the elderly and those with seven chronic diseases - have registered for their jabs, the government adjusted its plan by offering walk-in service nationwide instead.

Mr Anutin admitted he had proposed the walk-in service for those who wanted COVID-19 vaccinations after hearing the number of people who had registered for jabs was less than expected.

However, he said only 20% of vaccine doses had been set aside for walk-ins, so people should understand if they could not be offered it.

Medical teams around the country are already preparing walk-in services, said the minister, but he could not talk for Bangkok because the capital was not under the ministry’s responsibility.

Panruedee Manomaipiboon, director of the BMA’s health department, said the BMA would receive 1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from the Public Health Ministry on Monday and planned to vaccinate six million people in the capital by the end of July.

Meanwhile, the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration yesterday reported 32 new virus-related deaths over the previous 24 hours, bringing the overall toll to 518, plus a record high of 4,887 new cases, raising the total to 93,794. The record daily cases included 2,835 in prisons as revealed by the prisons boss earlier.

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Christy Sweet | 14 May 2021 - 12:50:59

Thailand handled the crisis beautifully - last year. This year the govt got sidelined by capitalist money above all  demands. That 70% herd immunity goal will be unattainable because of variants (and is more likely that 80% is needed as with other pathogens.) 

Capricornball | 14 May 2021 - 11:59:56

Complete clown show with bureaucratic bungling every step of the way.  One thing this pandemic has shown the people for sure is how inept the government is, with policies and procedures changing literally by the day...leaving most of the population wondering what the hell is next.  "Here...wait!...OK now...oops, wait! we go...crap...not we're ready...starting next week......


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