Private sector seeks govt deal

Private sector seeks govt deal

People line up to receive their vaccine against the coronavirus disease at Suvarnabhumi Airport on Wednesday. (Reuters photo)
People line up to receive their vaccine against the coronavirus disease at Suvarnabhumi Airport on Wednesday. (Reuters photo)

About 2,000 companies have expressed an intent to buy Covid-19 vaccines from the government for their 900,000-strong workforce, according to the Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC).

Sanan Angubolkul, the chamber's chairman, said the companies all wish to shoulder the costs of the jabs for their employees.

"They insist that they want to buy from the government for distribution to their employees. So, it depends on how fast the vaccines can be procured and delivered," he said.

The government has secured 64 million doses of the AstraZeneca and Sinovac vaccines and is working to buy 36 million more as it plans to vaccinate up to 50 million people by the end of this year. Many companies in the private sector had earlier planned to import vaccines but backed off after a number of manufacturers insisted that they were only dealing with governments at present.

Mr Sanan said the private sector had negotiated with suppliers and found they would be able to deliver the jabs during the latter half of this year, meaning the government should have ample supply and they could potentially do a deal with the present administration instead.

According to the chamber chairman, the private sector will support the government rollout by providing venues for vaccine distribution and procuring medical supplies for the administration of the jabs.

Meanwhile, Wisit Limluecha, vice-chairman of the TCC, said the strict Covid-19 restrictions imposed in six provinces would badly hurt businesses in those areas, especially those in the tourism, service, and entertainment sectors.

However, he expressed confidence the government will unveil relief and rehabilitation packages to help workers keep their jobs and the businesses to survive the crunch.

He called on the government to extend two schemes -- the "Khon La Kreung" co-payment scheme and "Rao Chana" financial aid -- saying these two packages could further alleviate hardships among informal workers.

According to Mr Wisit, about 200 billion baht must be injected into the economy each month if its target of 3% growth in GDP is to be met this year.

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