Thailand begins massive vaccination drive despite shortages, concerns

Thailand is set to begin its massive vaccination drive on Monday despite reported setbacks in production and distribution, the government has said through its official channels.

Massive vaccination centers have been opened throughout Bangkok and surrounding at-risk provinces. The vaccination drive will first target vulnerable populations and frontline workers.

Those registered to take the vaccine in low-risk or green areas have seen their scheduled appointment pushed back due to the low number of vaccines and public health priorities.

Despite reports that there has been a shortage of locally-made AstraZeneca vaccines, Anutin Charnvirakul, the Minister of Public Health said at the weekend that the government has received 1.8 million locally produced AZ shots to supplement its imported doses of Sinovac.

Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri told Thai Enquirer that anyone registered through the Mor Phrom application would receive their doses on time.

“The prime minister has guaranteed that those registered for the vaccine will get it,” he told Thai Enquirer by phone.

According to the public health ministry, the government has brought in more Sinovacs vaccine and there should “enough” vaccines to last through June before production of AZ vaccines pick up in July.

“What that means is that the public will not be able to pick what vaccine they receive in June because we won’t know what vaccine we get from the government until one or two days before the vaccination date,” said a private hospital administrator who asked to not be named.

“Our hospital is working with the government to help administer these vaccines and there have been some people who turn away because they didn’t get their vaccine of choice,” the administrator told Thai Enquirer.

“What the public has to understand is that the best vaccine is the one that is available right now. There can be booster shots later.”

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