More than 9 million employees under Section 33 of the Social Security Act are not required to register for Covid-19 vaccination via the government's Mor Prom app as they are eligible to get their shots next month, says Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin.
The minister outlined the vaccine rollout for some 9.2 million employees covered by Section 33 after Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha wrote on Facebook on Wednesday that they will be given priority in the vaccination drive.
This is because those employees are classified as at-risk groups of infection as many of them have to carry on working at their workplaces.
Mr Suchart said vaccine distribution for the employees is scheduled to start on June 7 in Bangkok, which is a strict and maximum-control zone, and the insured workers do not have to register with Mor Prom.
The Social Security Office (SSO) had asked business operators in Bangkok to survey their 3.7 million employees as to who wanted a shot. Of them, 2.38 million workers, or 63%, want them.
According to Mr Suchart, the ministry plans to complete the vaccination programme in two months, aiming to inoculate 50,000 people on a daily basis.
The insured workers will receive shots at 20 hospitals which are the SSO's partners and the vaccination stations for this group are separate from those run by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA).
However, he said the SSO may require assistance from the employers to register their workers to speed up the process.
Employers will be informed when the shots are ready for their staff.
Mr Suchart said the vaccination campaign in nine economic provinces such as Rayong, Chon Buri and Ayutthaya is scheduled to begin in July before it is extended to the other provinces.
The labour minister expressed confidence the business operators can prevent outbreaks at industrial factories, saying proactive testing has been provided to the insured workers.
Of 70,000 insured workers, about 1,000 have tested positive for the virus, he said.
According to Mr Suchart, Covid-19 screening is also being made available for workers in the economic provinces of Ayutthaya, Pathum Thani, Chon Buri and Rayong.
Gen Prayut posted on Facebook details of the government's vaccination programme a day after putting the brakes on walk-in services for vaccinations.
This was to prevent people flocking to inoculation sites and getting upset if they failed to secure a jab. The prime minister wanted a new vaccination format such as on-site registration.
He then proposed that Section 33 workers should be given priority with the main focus placed on workers in the manufacturing and service sectors.