The Thai Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, stated today to the Thai press that he had secured 2 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine that would be delivered sometime between February and April, moving up the timeline for the country of vaccines being implemented.
Anutin stated that he had been ordered to find ways to speed up the timeline of giving the vaccine in Thailand both because of the current clusters of infections in the country and to expediate a timeline on bringing the tourism sector back to life.
However, he did not state which vaccine he had secured or from what country and stated those details would come at a later date.
He also did not state who would get the two million vaccines, although many expect frontline health workers, elderly and the vulnerable to get the vaccine first. Thailand has a total population of almost 70 million which varies depending on many estimates, including those of foreign expats. However, the early vaccines is seen as a significant first step in the country as a previous deal with Astrazeneca is not expected until May or June. There has been significant pressure from the tourism and hospitality sector to move up the timeline for protecting the elderly and vulnerable in Thailand to allow border restrictions to relax and restart foreign tourism.
Prominent Thai doctors have also asked the government why they are not moving up the timeline as well, as we reported recently. This recent move is the first step towards that goal, according to Anutin.