Health minister says all migrant restaurant workers will be vaccinated
Foreign migrant workers employed in the food and beverage (F&B) service sector in Thailand, who are not covered by the social security scheme, will be vaccinated. The Public Health and Labour ministries, as well as security agencies, have been working out the actual numbers, said Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul.
A special quota of vaccines has been sought by the Thai Restaurants Association for these employees, most of whom have been working in small eateries and are beyond social security coverage.
The association’s president, Thaniwan Kulmongkol, said today (Friday) that all F&B outlets are ready to comply with the “COVID Free Setting” regimen, which will become effective on October 1st, so they can resume business without interruption.
“COVID Free Setting” means all staff of an eatery in the “dark red” provinces, as well as its owner must be fully inoculated and be tested weekly with rapid antigen kits (ATKs), to make sure that the venue is safe for the provision of dine-in services. Social distancing is also required, under which seating is limited at 50% of capacity when air conditioned 75% for those outdoors.
Mr. Anutin said today that about 30,000 F&B sector employees in Bangkok have already been inoculated, with the remaining 60,000 yet to be vaccinated at Bang Sue grand station, which will take about two weeks.
The “mix and match” vaccination approach is being used in these workers, with the Sinovac vaccine as the first shot, followed by the AstraZeneca vaccine for the second three weeks later.
The public health minister assured the public that this approach will be effective enough to cope with the Delta variant, which is the dominant mutation of the COVID-19 virus in Thailand, causing over 90% of the infections.
Meanwhile, CCSA Assistant Spokesperson Dr. Apisamai Srirangsan said today that health officials in Nonthaburi, Nakhon Pathom, Pathum Thani, Suphan Buri and Kanchanaburi had been told to check whether there is anyone people in their respective provinces who received their first vaccine jab at Bang Sue grand station and want to receive the second vaccine shot at the same venue or in their home provinces, so the Disease Control Department will be able to distribute sufficient vaccine to those provinces.
She also asked all hospitals to screen PUI (patient under investigation) cases who walk in to hospitals for RT-PCR tests, noting that the infection rates among them are 30% in Bangkok and 20% in elsewhere.