Thailand has received the first 200,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine from China’s pharmaceutical manufacturer Sinovac Biotech, and the Government has worked out a plan for COVID-19 vaccine management and distribution.
The 200,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport at 10.17 on 24 February 2021. On hand to receive the vaccine were Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, and senior officials, as well as Chinese Chargé d’ Affaires Yang Xin, who serves as acting Chinese Ambassador to Thailand.
The vaccine will be distributed to 13 provinces, with frontline health workers and those at higher risk being the first to receive the vaccine. Health authorities are now expected to give the first injection of this COVID-19 vaccine on 1 March.
As of now, frontline health workers are at the top of the list of those receiving vaccination priority, followed by patients with acute and chronic respiratory diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, difficult-to-control asthma, cardiovascular diseases, stage 5 or higher chronic kidney disease, stroke patients, cancer patients receiving chemotherapy, and persons with diabetes or obesity problems, as well as disease-control-related workers with possible exposure to COVID-19 patients.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet on 23 February approved the plan for COVID-19 vaccine management and distribution, which aims to provide all people in Thailand with access to vaccines against COVID-19. The objectives are to reduce the risk of infections and the rate of deaths and to secure the country’s public health system.
Two distribution Phases
Target groups in the first phase include medical and public health personnel on the frontline, patients with chronic diseases, older persons aged over 60 years, and authorities involved with disease control.
In the second phase, target groups include medical and public health personnel who are not on the frontline, people in the tourism sector, international travellers, the general public, diplomats, members of international organizations, foreign business people, long-stay tourists, and workers in the industrial and service sectors.
The Cabinet also approved the Ministry of Public Health’s plan to increase its order of AstraZeneca vaccine from 26 million doses to 61 million doses.
The Department of Disease Control has specified the goals of the vaccination against COVID-19 in Thailand: (1) reducing morbidity and mortality, as the target groups are those at high risk of serious illness and death if infected, including those over 60 years of age and people with chronic underlying diseases; (2) protecting the country’s health system, as the first target group is medical personnel and public health staff in both public and private sectors and the authorities involved in COVID-19 control who come into contact with patients at work; and (3) driving the economy and society of the country, as the target group is the general public, as well as laborers in the service sector, tourism sector, and industrial sector. (In the case of foreign workers, the cost will be co-paid by the business owners.)
Source: Public Relation Department of Thailand.