Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said in a talk on the Clubhouse social media application on Tuesday that the government should seek his help to alleviate their ongoing vaccine problems.
The former prime minister, currently in self-imposed exile, said that if the government needed help to secure vaccines, including the Sputnik vaccine from Russia, that he would be willing to negotiate on their behalf.
“Do you want me to speak to Putin so that we can bring in Sputnik V?” he asked.
“Tell me, we can help each other but the government has to be more aware than this and once we have them, we must distribute them as widely and as soon as possible, not just at some clusters,” Thaksin said in the Clubhouse chat.
His comments come as the Prayut’s government is being heavily criticized by the public and the opposition for its alleged mismanagement of the country’s covid situation and perceived delays in plans to procure and produce covid-vaccines for the entire country.
Following heavy criticism, the government said this week that it is now trying to buy more vaccines from three producers instead of two, including Sinovac, AstraZeneca and Pfizer.
The government also admitted that they will not have enough locally produced vaccines to inoculate the country to herd-immunity by year’s end.
So far, the country has procured 2.17 million doses of Sinovac and AstraZeneca’s vaccines and 530,000 people have received their first dose as of Monday.
Thaksin in his clubhouse talk also suggested that the current government ask the owners of the biggest conglomerates in the country including CP, TCC and, Gulf to help them get more vaccines for the country.
“You can ask Dhanin (Chearavanont of the CP Group) to talk to the Chinese government about the procurement of Sinopham’s vaccine because they have a large production capacity,” he said.
“Many of the countries in the Middle East are using Sinopham but we do not have that yet,” he said.
The former premier also suggested that the owners of TCC and GULF Energy have a wide enough network to be able to secure vaccines for the entire country.
“The private sector have the connections to be able to do it,” he said.