Opinion: When it comes to COVAX, it’s better late than never

The most common comment we got on Wednesday after revealing that Thailand was looking to join the COVAX vaccine program was “better late than never.”

The other comment that we saw a lot of was, “why did you wait until now?”

The COVAX programme was initiated in April 2020.

That is one year and three months ago.

There are 172 countries that have joined the program with Thailand being one of just a handful of countries not to join. That puts us into the same category as Turkey and Russia. National pride has wonderful bedfellows.

“Even though we have tried our hardest, the vaccines that we have procured so far are still not enough for the current situation”

Thank you to Dr Nakorn Premsri, the director of the National Vaccine Institute. It may be a year late but someone finally has the decency and the balls to admit the truth.

The Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration and its chief, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha, has yet to admit any responsibility for the current outbreak much less the vaccine situation.

Even Singapore decided to join the program even before we did.

Being late to the party, the vaccines from COVAX will not arrive by the first quarter of next year.  

With thousands dead, the reasons for not joining the program by the government now seem rather hollow.

Remember when they said ‘this was just the flu’ or that ‘we are too rich as a country to join’ or that ‘we have fewer cases per day than our neighbors and we are producing our own vaccine.’

What utter nonsense.

Better late than never, that probably is true. But it should have never gotten to this point.

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