PM reaffirms jabs for all pledge
Prayut takes aim at media for 'confusion'
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday gave further assurances that all Thais will receive Covid-19 jabs and warned the media not to sow confusion over the state vaccination programme.
He said that the government was initially working to manage supplies so that those most in need could be inoculated first.
"There are several prioritised groups that need urgent vaccination, particularly those who have to work closely together," the prime minister said, adding that various mobile applications have been introduced to support the drive.
As for the Mor Prom app, the platform will now handle vaccination follow-ups and certification only, Gen Prayut said.
"Vaccine recipients can check on side-effects via Mor Prom. We have to keep improving," the prime minister said.
"You should offer encouragement to health officials. They are working hard but are exhausted because of the enormous numbers of people. If you present exaggerated reports, confusion will arise, which in turn will affect their work," the prime minister said.
The government has revamped its allocation system and suspended the Mor Prom app in order to focus on clusters as they emerge and bottlenecks in registration.
The platform previously covered all stages of the process, but public confusion has led to its reduced role.
Gen Prayut said that there are 25 locations for vaccination in Bangkok, and supplies will be allotted from month to month now, to ensure more effective and targeted distribution.
Asked about the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine planned for next month, Gen Prayut said that it will proceed as planned.
"We'll have to distribute vaccines on a monthly basis. If a new surge occurs in a particular area, the vaccine allocation plan may have to be adjusted," he said.
Gen Prayut pledged that anyone who had previously registered for vaccinations with Mor Prom before it was revamped or other new applications introduced by the government, will receive their inoculation as arranged.
"I can assure you that everyone will be vaccinated for certain," Gen Prayut said.
Gen Prayut also played down a perceived conflict among coalition parties over the handling of the Covid-19 crisis.
"There is no problem. We all understand each other. And I say that here before Mr Anutin [Charnvirakul]," Gen Prayut said with the deputy premier and Bhumjaithai leader sitting nearby.
"My decisions to change things are based on the recommendations of the Public Health Ministry. I also listen to the Interior Ministry which keeps in touch with local people,'' Gen Prayut said.
Sources said that the conflict emerged because Gen Prayut is now calling the shots after the cabinet granted him temporary powers on April 27 to enforce 31 laws relating to the handling of the pandemic, thereby diminishing the role of Mr Anutin who also oversees the Public Health Ministry.
Previously, the prime minister also put the brakes on Mr Anutin's plan for walk-in vaccinations for fear that any confusion caused by the plan could backfire on the government.
Afterwards, key members of the minister's coalition party, including spokesman Paradorn Prisnanantakul, criticised the government's strategy.
Meanwhile, Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang said yesterday that City Hall had tested Asiatique the Riverfront as a venue for administering vaccines by inoculating 800 members of the public at the site.
Pol Gen Aswin said eight similar units are also being trialled at Central Lat Phrao department store, Samyan Mitrtown on Rama IV Road, The Mall Bang Kapi, Big C's Bang Bon branch, Siam Paragon, Central Plaza's Pinklao branch, Lotus' Min Buri branch and the auditorium of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce.
The campaign is a collaboration between the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, the Board of Trade of Thailand and an alliance of hospitals.