Thailand to Secure 65 Million COVID Shots Next Year

A health worker administers second dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, left, at Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, May 24, 2021. Photo: Government Spokesman Office via AP

BANGKOK — PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has announced that Thailand is setting its goal of obtaining up to 65 million vaccines for next year as part of the government’s long term effort to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

Gen. Prayut said that contracts have been signed with suppliers to source 65 million vaccines for Thailand. He did not elaborate what brands were signed, and how much money was spent, but a government report said up to 25 percent of Thailand’s GDP has already been used in dealing with the pandemic, including vaccination, treatment, and assistance programs for the general public,

The government previously said it wanted to achieve its goal of national vaccination drive by the end of the year, but so far just 11 provinces have hit a threshold of over 70 percent of their population having received at least one vaccine injection, a target that has been crucial for fully reopening the country.

The government also said it is keeping a watchful eye over advancements in new and more effective vaccines including options in development to use a nasal spray to inoculate against COVID-19.



PM Prayut said that the tourism reopening initiated since Nov. 1 has been satisfactory overall, and that he has tasked the appropriate agencies with creating a digital system to check and verify passengers’ documents in order to expedite the arrival process for international travellers.

However, figures of arriving tourists since the reopening have been lacklustre. For instance, tourism associates had estimated that the last quarter of 2021 would bring 100,000 international tourists to Hua Hin. As of Thursday, only 56 have arrived.

A representative from the Thai Hotel Association told the media that the disparity is due to the entry process being overly complicated, the quarantine and testing fees expensive, and entertainment venues and nightlife activities stifled by alcohol restrictions.