The government aims to procure 150 million or more doses of vaccine to tackle Covid-19 in Thailand, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha posted on his Facebook page on Saturday.
“The original goal was to get 100 million doses of vaccine for 50 million adults in Thailand, with some manufacturers scheduled to make deliveries next year,” he said in the post. “However, as the outbreak situation is highly volatile, we cannot set a vaccination plan based on the assumption that herd immunity will be achieved when the majority of the population is vaccinated.
“The government has, therefore, set a new target of 150 million doses, or enough for all adults in Thailand or roughly 60 million people, while having some left in reserve,” Prayut said.
“The reserve also aims to respond in cases where the immunity of vaccinated people weakens, requiring additional jabs.”
Prayut added that the government would employ a more aggressive approach in procuring the vaccine as well as seek alternatives from new vaccine manufacturers. “Currently we have negotiated with seven manufacturers and are planning to branch out more to ensure that we get vaccines on time. We have to race with all other countries who are also eyeing getting more vaccines for their people as well,” he added.
“Lastly, the government is discussing with doctors and experts in public health over adjusting the vaccination plan to prioritise giving the first jab to as many people as possible,” said Prayut.
“Doctors unanimously agree that the risk of contracting the virus and developing severe symptoms, or even death, fall considerably after receiving the first jab. Therefore, we should focus on vaccinating as many first-dose receivers as possible.
“If we follow this adjusted plan, it is estimated that by the end of July about half of the adult population of Thailand will have been vaccinated with the first jab and therefore are well-protected against Covid-19,” said Prayut.