Thailand's vaccination programme will be divided into three phases, with priority given to healthcare workers, the elderly and the seriously ill, government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said on Sunday.
The vaccines will be administered by the national vaccine committee and the Public Health Ministry will closely monitor and assess the procedures, he said. The first Thai is expected to be given a jab in February.
The spokesman said a report given to a meeting of the Centre for the Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) prioritises certain groups and outlines three phases.
In the first phase, while the availability of vaccines is limited, priority will be given to frontline medical personnel and health workers; people with severe acute respiratory syndrome, cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, stroke or cerebrovascular disease; those with cancer, diabetes and obesity; the elderly aged 60 years and over; and personnel involved in Covid-19 control that come into contact with patients. The aim is to reduce the severity of sickness and deaths.
In the second phase, once greater supplies of vaccines arrive, they will be administered to non-frontline medical and health personnel; health officials at risk of being infected with Covid-19; people with jobs that place them in contact with a large number of people; and those who involved in international travel "with the purpose of maintaining the country's social and economic security".
In the third phase, vaccines will be given to the general population to bring the country back to normality.
The spokesman, however, did not give the time frame for each phase.
He said the prime minister has assigned relevant agencies to integrate their operational plans, particularly the administration of vaccines for each group of people and the delivery and storage of vaccines to maintain their efficacy. The agencies had been asked to step up public relations work to convey correct information to people.
The spokesman said the government has provided support for the development of vaccines against Covid-19 in the country. The three most advanced types of vaccines being developed are the mRNA type by Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Medicine, the protein subunit (plant-based) type by Baiya Phytopharm Co and Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and the DNA type by Bionet-Asia Co.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has assured that the distribution of vaccines against Covid-19 will be fair and in line with international standards, Mr Anucha said.