The Pattaya City administration is preparing to receive Covid –19 vaccines for 40,000 people by the end of this month.
Yesterday, (May 7th), the Pattaya City Mayor Sonthaya Khunplume and doctors from the Chonburi Public Health Office have inspected the Eastern National Sports Stadium which will be a primary place for vaccine injections in the Pattaya area. Staff are ensuring the stadium is prepared with proper social distancing and logistics measures to handle thousands of vaccinations a day.
Mayor Sonthaya told The Pattaya News, “The Thai government has accepted our immediate request for 80,000 doses of Covid –19 vaccines for 40,000 people in the Pattaya area as Chonburi is one of the highest control zones.”
“The next large-scale vaccine injection will be started in the middle of this month, May. It is expected to be completed by the end of this month.” Sonthaya added.
“We will receive another large shipment of vaccines in June as the Thai government is expecting 70 percent of ‘Thai’ people to receive the vaccine. Our goal is to reach this percentage as soon as possible so that we can reopen to tourists and relaunch our stalled industries and businesses.” The Mayor concluded.
The Mayor also stated that the plan to “relaunch” Pattaya to tourism, both domestic and foreign, remained on track despite current outbreaks of Covid-19 in the country. He stated Pattaya remains a “high priority” zone for the government due to its importance to tourism which is an estimated 80 percent of its overall GDP and attracted about 10 million foreign tourists and 7 million domestic in 2019 and was the 19th most visited city in the world. The current plan, according to the Thai government, is to vaccinate the majority of the local population of Pattaya to allow opening the province to vaccinated tourists from foreign countries without quarantine by October.
The Pattaya News notes that many critics online feel this won’t happen, potentially setback by the current Covid-19 crisis in the country that has seen Pattaya, for the third time in a year, essentially shut down with the majority of business closed due to Covid-19 restrictions and no tourism, either domestic or foreign.
Pattaya’s population estimate is also a matter of much dispute, with many permanent ex-pats and foreign migrant workers not counted as residents, including those who come to work in the area from other provinces. However, with a large number of people who worked in the tourism industry having returned to their home provinces during the last year, vaccinating 40,000 people locally is at least a significant start with a registered population of Thai residents of 119,530 in 2019. As stated, that number is down by as much as half by some city-level estimates now.
As for foreigners, the local, regional, and national government all say that foreigners will be vaccinated if they choose, but the process to do so has not yet been released and is set to come in the future, without a specific timeline.