FTI supports inoculation plan
The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) is planning to provide full support for the state-private inoculation programme, which aims to achieve a target of 100 million doses before the year-end deadline.
The FTI is preparing to hold talks with the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB) to help the government in its vaccination push.
"The FTI is confident the economy will recover faster if the government can distribute vaccines quicker than it is now," said FTI chairman Supant Mongkolsuthree, referring to plans to vaccinate 70% of the country by year-end 2021.
JSCCIB has set up four teams responsible for vaccine distribution and logistics, communication, IT operation and extra vaccine procurement to work with the government.
With help from the private sector, the FTI believes vaccine rollout in all provinces will be smoother and quicker. The state's vaccination scheme has been criticised for moving too slow.
Mr Supant said he is aware many people are reluctant to get injections because of doubts over the effectiveness of vaccines and unpleasant side effects.
"We will support the government in communicating information about vaccines to people," he said.
Vaccinations will play a key role in determining the Thai economic outlook this year, even more than economic stimulus packages, said Mr Supant.
Many other countries have sped up their rate of inoculations, which has slowed virus spread and helped prop up their economy, he said.
"It seems Thailand only has exports to drive the economy, with tourism and agriculture slammed by the pandemic," said Mr Supant.
Thais are concerned about high infection rates and are refusing to leave their homes, which affects public spending, said the FTI.
In a separate development, Sanan Angubolkul, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, led chamber directors to meet Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda. Mr Sanan said the provincial chambers of commerce and the private sector in regional areas support the government's effort to tackle the fresh outbreak.
The chamber has called on police officers and administrative officials in each province to tighten controls in high-risk establishments and keep an eye on entertainment activities and annual festivals to curb the spread.