Authorities deny saving vaccines for use by VIPs

Authorities deny saving vaccines for use by VIPs

No VIPs have been given priority in the allocation of the Pfizer vaccine, thousands of doses of which were administered to people in Samut Prakan on a first-come-first-serve basis yesterday, say public health authorities.

The Department of Disease Control (DoDC) insisted the Pfizer vaccine donated by the US government was not a case of "jabs for VIPs", as has been alleged.

The first shipments are reserved for healthcare professionals and workers on the frontline, according to earlier reports.

No doses were unaccounted for, said Chawettasan Namwat, director of the DoDC's disease control and public health emergency division, when asked by the media yesterday.

He also asked people to report any irregularity in the distribution of the donation of the vaccines to the Public Health Ministry.

Its public health and medical emergencies operation centre has decided that tambon-level health promotion hospitals nationwide will also be opened as Covid-19 vaccination points to widen public access to the vaccine, particularly for those in more isolated provinces.

Inoculations will also be offered at temples and schools where possible, and the ministry is considering sending mobile units to people's homes, he said.

As of Aug 14, 23 million people had received the vaccine, 17.8 million of which were first doses.

In all, 11.1 million were of Sinovac, 10 million from AstraZeneca, and 1.8 million from Sinopharm and 361,646 doses from Pfizer.

Three million more doses of Chinese-manufactured vaccine arrived in Bangkok yesterday, according to the country's embassy in Bangkok.

Meanwhile, queue tickets for Pfizer shots were snapped up in less than two hours at two hospitals in Samut Prakan.

More than 4,500 people turned up in the early hours at Samut Prakan Hospital and 1,300 people at the Bangplee Hospital to get their appointments.

The first 2,000 vaccinations were carried out yesterday and the rest will be done today.

The scene at Bangplee Hospital in Bang Phli district was busy as thousands arrived early in the hope of securing the Pfizer vaccine shots on offer there.

The hospital allocated 1,300 tickets yesterday which ran out in less than an hour.

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