Thailand kicks off COVID-19 vaccination program
Published: 06:10 PM, 28 February 2021
Thailand on Sunday started the vaccination program against the COVID-19, with the first dose, using China’s Sinovac vaccine.
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha presided over the event at the country’s infectious disease institute, where other officials, including deputy public health minister, agriculture minister, culture minister, and deputy education minister, were also vaccinated with the Sinovac vaccine.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha told reporters, “It’s a historic day and a day to help the country rebuild confidence against the pandemic.”
Also on Sunday, 159 people in Samut Sakhon province, the epicenter of the country’s new wave of an outbreak that erupted in mid-December, are scheduled to receive their first shot of the vaccine. These included local officials as well as representatives of at-risk groups such as medical workers and migrant workers.
The Southeast Asian country has so far confirmed 25,951 COVID-19 cases with 83 fatalities.
With its heavy reliance on tourism, Thailand has been hit hard. The country welcomed about 40 million foreign tourists in 2019, but only 6.7 million trickled in last year.
It is widely expected that the COVID-19 vaccines will be a game-changer. Prayut hopes the vaccine would contribute to the recovery of the tourism sector through easing restrictive measures, such as exempting vaccinated tourists from the two-week mandatory quarantine.