Authorities in Thailand have decided to use 200,000 initial doses of Chinese Sinovac Biotech Limited’s COVID-19 vaccines for medical personnel, disease control workers and health volunteers in five provinces that are considered as ‘RED ZONE’.
Dr Opas Karnkawonpong, director-general of the Disease Control Department of Thailand, said the first 200,000 doses from Sinovac Biotech would arrive in February and would be delivered to the five provinces of Samut Sakhon, Rayong, Chon Buri, Trat and Chanthaburi.
Recipients will be medical personnel of the government and private sectors, 80,000 village-based health volunteers and workers at disease control checkpoints and field hospitals.
Dr Opas said that in March and April, Thailand would receive 800,000 doses and 1 million doses respectively. The vaccines will be given to people who are 60 years old and over and people with chronic diseases namely heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, lung and kidney diseases and obesity in 23 maximum control provinces.
In May, 26 million doses will be accepted by Thailand for vaccination among general people. The government plans vaccination for 70 percent of the population to develop herd immunity and contain COVID-19.
Vaccination for general people will continue until early next year. One person needs two jabs that will be four weeks apart, Dr Opas said.
With this information from the top official of the Disease Control Department in Thailand, it is easily anticipated that the country may not lift the travel restrictions it has imposed on foreigners, until the vaccination of the total population is implemented – meaning, there is no good news for the Thai tourism industry at least for another year.