Surin offers elephant-back vaccine service

What makes for an unforgettable COVID-19 vaccination experience?

As Thailand rushes to combat the current coronavirus pandemic, many provinces and local hospitals throughout the country have had to come up with ways to efficiently and securely vaccinate its citizens, whether through at-home vaccination services, mass vaccination sites in parking lots, or the recent launch of a mobile vaccine unit around Bangkok.

But nothing beats the latest campaign launched by the authorities of Tha Tum District in Thailand’s north-eastern province of Surin, where the villagers get to sit on their elephants to get vaccinated!

With more than 13,931 reported cases since the third wave of the pandemic, health authorities in Surin are rushing to vaccinate those in vulnerable groups, mainly those 60 and older, those with any of seven designated chronic diseases, and pregnant women.

Health authorities in Tha Tum District, one of the largest and oldest elephant villages in Thailand and the world, this weekend decided to make the experience fun, colourful, and stress-relieving for the elephant herders of the village – by coming to get vaccinated on the back of their elephants!

Some arrived with the elephants from their homes, and some sent along their children and relatives on the backs of the elephants to get vaccinated. Medical staff and nurses climbed up and waited on the elephant stands, where the elephants arrived with their herders on their backs for vaccination. Among the riders were Sirisak Ruampattana, deputy prime minister of Surin Provincial Administrative Organization, and Prakit Klangpattana, former headman of Ta Klang village, both mahouts and owners of many elephants. Many elderly villagers could also be seen riding elephants to receive the vaccination.

The stories immediately went viral online, making headlines on local media with many netizens sharing the photos and stories on various social media channels, noting the creativity and entertainment behind it all. It is safe to say that the goal of relieving stress for the people has definitely been achieved. 

The people of Surin will receive Sinovac as the first dose, and AstraZeneca for the second.

Photos credit: MGR Online อีสานบ้านเฮา via Facebook.


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