Thai Vaccination Programme Raises Hopes Of Opening Of Borders

There are increasing hopes that Thailand may start to reduce border restrictions and quarantine after the Thai government announced more details of their Covid-19 vaccination programme. However there are still concerns among some that there is still too much uncertainty on the schedule and support for the tourism sector.

The Thai Public Health Ministry yesterday announced details of the vaccine roll-out, aiming to deliver more than 1.9 million to around 960,000 people by April. The programme will be concentrated on 10 provinces including: Bangkok, Chanthaburi, Chon Buri, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan, Rayong, Samut Sakthon, Tak and Trat.

The vaccine programme is initially focused on reducing the number of severe infections and deaths among at-risk groups including people aged 60 and older, those with serious underlying health problems, and health and medical personnel.

During the second phase there will be a greater focus on helping to support the economy including tourism workers, giving more hope that tourism may be able to start to recover by the third quarter of 2021.

Earlier this week organisations in Phuket contacted the government with a plan to privately obtain vaccines with the aim of vaccinating up to 70% of adults in the province by October allowing tourists to return without the need for quarantine. The Thai government has however rejected all calls for private supplies of Covid-19 vaccines. There are also doubts how easy it would have been for supplies to be found with global supplies still well below demand.

Photo credit Gerry Popplestone on flickr

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