Travel deals on agenda as jabs start

Travel deals on agenda as jabs start

vaccine passports poised for launch

A view inside Suvarnabhumi airport in March. The number of foreign travellers arriving in Thailand has fallen by half since the virus outbreak. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
A view inside Suvarnabhumi airport in March. The number of foreign travellers arriving in Thailand has fallen by half since the virus outbreak. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

Thailand is expected to begin signing vaccine passport deals with other countries next month, says the Public Health Ministry.

Director-General of the Department of Disease Control Opas Karnkawinpong on Saturday announced that Thailand was planning to enter into bilateral agreements on vaccine passports with low-incidence countries which had begun vaccinating their people against Covid-19.

"The vaccine passport scheme will take shape within three months," Dr Opas said.

Thailand will receive a further 1.8 million doses from Sinovac -- 800,000 this month and the rest in April -- followed by six million doses from AstraZeneca in June. There are also 10 million dose deliveries scheduled for July and August, according to Dr Opas.

The doctor predicted that 63 million doses would be given to over 30 million people by the end of the year, with high-risk areas being the first to begin widespread vaccination drives.

He said that 44,409 people in Thailand had been vaccinated so far.

On reports of blood clots being diagnosed among some people who had received the AstraZeneca formula, he said the ministry was investigating the issue but there was no indication that the vaccine was the cause.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has announced that it will begin arranging early jabs for seven vulnerable groups via its "Mor Phrom" ("The doctor is ready") Line account today.

Bangkok governor Pol Gen Aswin Kwanmuang said people aged 50-59 years and toddlers aged 10 months would be eligible for the vaccine if they suffered from severe chronic respiratory disease, heart and coronary artery disease, chronic kidney disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity or had had a stroke.

They must also live in six Bangkok districts adjacent to Samut Sakhon province.

The Sinovac vaccine is not recommended as yet for those who are 60 or older.

Meanwhile, former leader of the disbanded Future Forward Party Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit said Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul had lied when he said AstraZeneca's vaccine delivery to Thailand would meet the deadlines set.

However, the minister replied he was confident that all 60 million doses would be administered by the end of this year. Five million doses would be given to people in June this year and 10 million more doses each month after that, he said.

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