CEOs vow to speed up jabs rollout

CEOs vow to speed up jabs rollout

The chief executives of 40 companies on Tuesday rallied behind the government by launching a campaign to expedite the procurement of vaccines and pull the country out of its economic malaise as soon as possible.

The "Connect the Dots" campaign was agreed at a teleconference which worked out ways the private sector can support the government in hastening the national vaccine programme.

Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC) chairman Sanan Angubolkul said the CEOs felt the vaccination rollout, which has seen just 0.4% of the population inoculated so far, was proceeding too slowly.

"The government needs to get hold of sufficient vaccine -- the CEOs and the TCC stand ready to help," he said.

Mr Sanan said it was dubbed "Connect the Dots" to signify the private sector's role in filling in the gaps to help the government speed up its vaccination rollout and achieve herd immunity.

Efficient distribution of vaccines was paramount, starting from within Bangkok, said Mr Sanan. Plans were already in place to receive an extra 4-6 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in June.

"With the support of the private sector, the TCC has set a target of having 70% of the Bangkok population inoculated before the year is out," he said, adding it was aiming to have every frontline medical worker vaccinated by the end of June.

The 70% target would provide a safe level for reopening the country, according to the TCC.

The goal includes inoculating Bangkokians at a rate of 50,000 people a day and Mr Sanan said that in turn depended on sound organisational and resource management, skills in which the private sector was well versed. This could then be developed into a model to be put into practice in other provinces.

The TCC and its network of businesses will split into teams, which will be in charge of vaccine distribution and logistics, communication, IT operation and extra procurement of vaccines from manufacturers outside the national vaccination programmes.

The extra vaccines include the US-based Moderna, Pfizer, China's Sinopharm and CanSino Biologics, India's COVAXIN and Russia's Sputnik V.

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