The Thai Prime Minister, Prayut Chan O’Cha, announced through a social media post on May 8th, 2021, that Thailand is boosting its vaccine supply target from 100 million to 150 million.
According to Prime Minister Prayut, this is to ensure the entire adult population of Thailand has access to shots. Additionally, the Thai government has previously stated through the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) that foreign residents of Thailand will be able to have access to vaccines starting from June, although many questions remain on the process, procedures, and policies that will need to be answered around this in the future.
Private hospitals are also expected to be able to import vaccines, notably, the Moderna vaccine, in the near future as well to complement the overall national supply. This option will allow those who wish to pay for a vaccine to do so at a private medical facility or hospital. As with the rollout of vaccines to foreign residents, however, the exact details on this strategy and prices have yet to be officially announced, although some rough estimates of cost have been made on some media sites.
Thailand had originally ordered/planned to procure about 63 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines but a recent round of infections in January and April of this year have boosted that goal considerably to the current target of 150 million shots.
The rollout of the vaccination program to the general public is expected to start next month with the expected mass production locally of Astrazeneca, although some parts of the country deemed “high priority economic zones” such as Chonburi and Phuket are planning to roll out sooner. Indeed, Phuket has already begun a vaccination process with the goal of being able to re-open to vaccinated foreign tourists without quarantine later in the year. Phuket and Chonburi’s Pattaya are both nearly entirely reliant on tourism for their GDP.
Thailand has drastically beefed up their vaccine procurement plan behind the scenes, discussing deals with a total of seven different vaccine companies, including Pfizer, which they hope to secure 10-20 million doses of by the third to fourth quarter of 2021.
The Thai government is aiming for the ambitious goal of having half the adult population of Thailand to get their first doses of vaccines by the end of July of this year. This fits into the countries overall plan to be able to open popular tourist destinations like Phuket, Koh Samui, Pattaya, and Chiang Mai to foreign tourists who are vaccinated by the end of the year and begin to recover the economy and devastated tourism sector, both domestically and to foreign tourists.