Vaccine campaign kicks off around the country with minor hiccups and an apology

Thailand’s mass vaccination campaign kicked off on Monday with minor hiccups and stumbles but marked a new chapter in the country’s fight against Covid.

Thailand aims to administer at least six million vaccines by the end of the month – with most of the vaccines going to high-risk zones.

As a result, provincial hospitals have had to push back some vaccination appointments due to shortages. (Read more here) Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha has acknowledged the shortage but said that the government must prioritize at-risk areas.

The government has also acknowledged reports that appointments have gone missing within the government’s registration programs leading to confusion at hospitals and vaccination centers throughout Bangkok and the surrounding area.

“I am sorry for those things that have upset everyone, we will do our best for all Thai people and there are a lot of people so there will be problems but we cannot deny our responsibility,” Prayut said.

Administrators at Ramathibodi Hospital and several private hospitals told Thai Enquirer on Monday that confusion over registration and application failures meant that they have had to turn away patients. The hospitals have also suspended and turned away any patients hoping to walk-in and register.

“It has mostly gone off without a hitch but the government needs to make their communication clearer so that people don’t get confused and put themself in risky situations,” the Ramathibodi administrator told Thai Enquirer by phone.

Anutin Charnvirakul, the Minister of Public Health, told reporters that for communication to be streamlined and for the right information to be disseminated, the public should only listen to official ministry channels and not private hospitals.

Anutin said that anyone who has successfully registered with the government will receive their vaccines on their assigned dates.

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