The government on Friday kicked off a new national Covid-19 vaccination campaign aimed at administering up to 1 million doses per day to those receiving their first, second or booster shot.
The campaign was launched on Prince Mahidol Day to commemorate Prince Mahidol, grandfather of the current king, for his contributions to the development of medical education in Thailand.
With a total of 15 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines expected to be delivered by the end of this month and another 20 million doses next month, the government is now attempting to maximise the number of injections per day to 1 million, said Anutin Charnvirakul, Public Health Minister and Deputy Prime Minister.
Prior to the beginning of the 1-million-doses-a-day campaign, Thailand was administering between 600,000 and 800,000 doses per day, he said.
"The booster shot injection programme is, meanwhile, conducted in the hope of improving the country's defence against the highly contagious variant of the coronavirus," Mr Anutin said.
"In addition to scaling up the vaccination of people against Covid-19, the Ministry of Public Health is now focusing also on inoculating children aged 12 and over in preparation for the reopening of schools possibly in the coming school term," he said.
According to the Disease Control Department, a total of 1.16 million doses were administered to people on Friday.
Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of Covid-19 vaccines on children as young as 12 years old as soon as possible as these vaccines are proven to be safe and effective, Mr Anutin said.
Sathit Pitutecha, Deputy Public Health Minister, said about 30,000 doses were administered to people at a vaccination centre in a Ministry of Public Health office in Nonthaburi yesterday -- half of which were booster shots and the other half, second shots.
"This mass vaccination is totally voluntary, and sufficient information and advice are provided before people decide on their own whether they want to get the vaccine or not," Mr Sathit said.
In Phuket, officials commenced its booster shot injection programme using the intradermal injection technique, which is believed to require four to five times fewer vaccine doses to achieve effective protection against Covid-19.
It is the first province to implement this technique on a large scale, while the rest of the country still sticks to the standard intramuscular injection technique, said Dr Withita Jangiam, deputy director of Vachira Phuket Hospital.