Govt denies oversupply of vaccine

Govt denies oversupply of vaccine

The Public Health Ministry has denied accusations by the Rural Doctor Society (RDS) that it has flooded remote hospitals with Covid-19 vaccines, saying such quantities were justified to expand immunisation coverage.

Dr Suthep Phetmak, the ministry's chief inspector, insisted it was crucial for people across the country to have access to the vaccine close to their homes.

"It is precisely the reason the vaccine was distributed to the HPH [health promotion hospitals] in the tambons in the outlying areas of the country," he said.

People in rural locations need the vaccines to be made easily and conveniently available to them and HPHs are the closest medical facilities for many local residents, he noted.

Distribution of the vaccines to the HPHs was approved a month ago by the ministry's emergency operations centre (EOC) after a low vaccination rate was found among the rural population.

Many members of the public have shown a reluctance to get jabbed because they are loath to travel far from their home to an inoculation site, or because they had no one to take them to the vaccination facilities.

Dr Sethep said the ministry has delivered the Sinovac, AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines to the HPHs.

So far, 138 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered, of which 81% were first doses and 75% were second doses. Only 40% were booster shots, according to the chief health inspector.

Earlier, the RDS criticised the ministry for sending the vaccine without adequate refrigeration at the HPHs.

There are almost 10,000 such facilities in tambons nationwide. The RDS estimated that about 16 million doses bought using taxpayers' money will expire soon.

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