Opposition demands more clarity after Prayut calls to postpone walk-in vaccine centres

The opposition on Wednesday questioned the coherence of government policy over planned walk-in vaccine centres, after Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha said he was opposing the project due to supply concerns.

Walk-in stations have been announced by Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, and are due to start handing out inoculations on 1 June to any citizen, without registration.

During a cabinet meeting Tuesday Prayut said there might be a shortage of vaccines if too many people show up at one location, and called for the walk-in part of the plan to be called off for now.

He said people should register using the Mor Phrom application, or on-site registration where possible.

A commotion could break out, he warned, if people turn up and cannot get vaccinated. Walk-in centres would be more suitable only once the country has enough vaccines, he said.

Move Forward Party MP Wiroj Lakhanaadisorn told the Thai Enquirer the Prime Minister and the Health Minister need to better communicate with each other.

“When people at this level of government makes this kind of statement on policy direction that shows that there is lack of communication, which causes confusion to the public,” he said.

Wiroj said the more pressing issue is not whether walk-ins vaccines take place or not, but the need for better communication within the government first.

“If you set up walk-in vaccination facilities you must be able to handle the number of people that show up or whether or not there are enough vaccines in stock to inoculate people,” said Wiroj.

Pheu Thai spokesperson Arunee Kasayanod said the government is unable to inspire confidence in the people due to conflicting policies, especially in its vaccine management, which needs to be transparent.

“This reinforces the government’s failure due to its inability to work together during the pandemic”, said Arunee.

She further said that “voting stations in the electoral districts can be turned into venues for walk-in inoculation if there are enough vaccines available.”

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