Thai netizens reacted with fury Monday after a soldier shared pictures of a receipt for a Pfizer vaccine online, accusing the government of favouring the military over healthcare workers in allocating the limited stocks of the jab.
The soldier was quick to explain that he is a military nurse working on the front lines alongside medical workers against the pandemic but the outrage persisted, demonstrating public sensitivity to even suspected preferential treatment of the military.
Noppadon Maneechan, an army sergeant in Loei province, boasted about the shot on social media late Sunday saying: “Dear Moderna, I cannot wait for you any longer. Today, I have chosen to turn to Pfizer instead.”
“I am currently performing my duty as a military nurse at the Khai Si Song Rak Hospital, which makes me more at risk of contact with Covid-19 patients,” he wrote on Monday.
“I had initially asked to reserve the Moderna vaccine in October, but seeing as that will take too long, I have chosen to receive the Pfizer vaccines instead which has been prioritized to frontline medical workers such as myself.”
The post infuriated Thai netizens who suspected the government and army of prioritizing vaccines for its military and cronies instead of putting healthcare workers and citizens first.
With #ไฟเซอร์หายไปไหน (Where did the Pfizer vaccines disappear to?) netizens used the hashtag to push for transparency over the imported jabs that were supposed to be given to the country’s frontline medical workers first.
Preeda Woraharn, a health official in Loei, confirmed to reporters on Monday that Noppadon is a health worker eligible for the Pfizer vaccine.
Some netizens were unconvinced, as the allocation of the 1.5 million doses of Pfizer vaccine, donated by the US in late July, has not been clearly explained by the authorities.
Reports leaked over the past two weeks have revealed military personnel and powerful individuals in the country secretly seeking the mRNA vaccines through back-door channels, leaving many citizens questioning whether any of the vaccines will be given to medical workers as promised by the government.
The hashtag #ไฟเซอร์หายไปไหน had garnered over 267,000 Tweets at the time of writing.