Help frontline staff first

Help frontline staff first

It's a shame that all frontline workers -- doctors, nurses and healthcare personnel -- have not received Covid-19 vaccines yet.

The government must see to it immediately.

Video stories and photos portraying medical workers sleeping on the floor, napping on a chair or being drenched in sweat inside their personal protective equipment have been widely circulated in the mass media.

The images and footage are meant to show appreciation to healthcare professionals around the country who are working tirelessly to save lives and contain the Covid-19 outbreak.

They are also supposed to bring attention to the increasingly desperate working conditions of medical workers as more Covid-19 patients stream into hospitals and other facilities.

No matter how strong the country's healthcare system is said to be, it is being stretched to its limits by the third wave of Covid-19 outbreaks.

Seeing how exhausted the medical workers are should compel people to try their best to protect themselves and stay away from the disease to avoid becoming a burden to them.

But these touching visuals and show of appreciation mean nothing when in practice some medical workers are left to battle the outbreak without a vaccine.

News from the Centre of the Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) that 146 medical workers have been infected with Covid-19 from April 1-13 is upsetting.

It's infuriating that about one-third contracted the virus by treating patients who withheld information that they were among the at-risk groups.

The behaviour is selfish and irresponsible. It also carries far-reaching impacts, often causing a large number of medical workers to go into quarantine and for entire wards to be closed for cleaning.

In Phitsanulok, two wards at Buddhachinaraj Hospital in Muang district have been closed for cleaning after a woman who underwent treatment there withheld information about where she had been.

Only after she was treated did the woman reveal she had prior exposure to Covid-19. She was then tested and confirmed to have Covid-19.

At least 20 medical workers were isolated. The entire hospital was closed to outpatients during office hours, except in emergency cases, while special clinics operating outside office hours as well as non-essential surgeries were also suspended.

It's sad to see how one person's careless behaviour could cause such a widespread impact, putting more pressure on an already fragile healthcare system.

But more importantly it is unacceptable that at this point when more than 600,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered, some healthcare workers are still left out.

On this, parliament president Chuan Leekpai sets a good example. Mr Chuan on Monday said he would not receive Covid-19 jabs until all medical personnel fighting the pandemic are inoculated.

Mr Chuan was aware that medical workers in some rural areas have not been vaccinated yet while other groups including politicians have received the jabs.

The veteran politician was spot-on when he said it is understandable for MPs and other groups of people to be allocated the vaccines but front-line medical personnel are in every way at greater risk of contracting the virus.

It's imperative that they receive the vaccines first. There can be no excuses.


Bangkok Post editorial column

These editorials represent Bangkok Post thoughts about current issues and situations.

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