12 July 2024

All 16 million vulnerable people will be the first in line when Thailand launches free nationwide vaccinations for residents next month. Meanwhile, appointments for jabs can be made in advance from today via the Mor Prom account on the Line mobile application.

Seniors and people suffering from a certain chronic condition will receive priority vaccination in a bid to minimise casualties, said Dr Sopon Mekthon, vice minister for public health and chair of the COVID-19 vaccine management committee.

More than half of the people in Thailand who have died from the virus were elderly or had underlying health conditions, he explained.

Thailand has so far recorded over 65,000 cases of COVID-19 and 203 deaths. The latest wave to hit the country is also the deadliest, possibly driven by a mutant strain of the virus. Deaths from COVID-19 in the whole of last year totalled 60, while this April alone saw about 100 people succumb to the disease.

Who gets vaccination priority?

Thais aged over 60 – 11.7 million people in total – will be fast-tracked for jabs. They will be joined by another 4.3 million people whose underlying illnesses make them more vulnerable to COVID-19. Prioritised are people with chronic respiratory diseases, heart/blood vessel conditions, chronic kidney failure, stroke, obesity, cancer and diabetes.

What priority groups must do

To get free a COVID-19 dose, they can register for vaccination from May 1 by contacting their hospital or village health volunteer. However, the government is encouraging people to register and make a vaccination appointment via LINE for greater convenience.

“If you are not familiar with technology, you could ask a younger relative to help you,” suggested Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) spokesman Dr Taweesin Visanuyothin.

Importantly, prioritised people do not need to rush to register on May 1, as registration will be open for a prolonged period.

Bangkok to inoculate 50,000 people per day, vaccinating 70% of its population

Bangkok plans to inoculate 70% of its inhabitants, at the rate of 50,000 people per day. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) will set up 14 locations across the city, outside hospitals, starting June 1st.

Booking a jab with Mor Prom

The Public Health Ministry’s Mor Prom (“Doctors Ready”) app operates on the LINE platform. Those who join the account can use its chat page and other features on its menu.

To book a COVID-19 vaccination via Mor Prom, users must first click “register” and then fill in their first name, surname, national ID card number and home province on the form provided. They will then receive “a notification of successful registration”.

Users can also register on behalf of others by activating the “Add people” feature and including their relation to the registrant. After the registration is completed, users can proceed to the next step – booking a vaccination appointment.

In order to prevent fraud, the Mor Prom app also checks registrants against the government list of people eligible for prioritised vaccination.

The app will then alert users just before their appointment is due, provide guidance on monitoring side effects and book them in for their second jab.

Mor Prom also offers flexibility, enabling users to reschedule their vaccination appointment if necessary.

When will they get vaccinated?

Members of prioritised groups will be vaccinatedbetween June 7 and July 31. By then, Siam Bioscience Co Ltd will be producing millions of AstraZeneca vaccine doses in Thailand, says the government. The firm should be able to provide 6 million doses in June and 10 million in July, according to officials.

The Public Health Ministry has assured the public it will procure enough vaccines to achieve herd immunity by inoculating about 70 per cent of the Thai population by year-end.

By Thai PBS World’s General Desk