11 July 2024

A group of doctors, who call themselves “Mor Mai Thon”, which translates as “doctors won’t take it anymore”, has launched a petition on change.org, demanding that the Public Health Minister and related agencies stop delaying the importation and administration of alternative vaccines, before the Indian variant of COVID-19 spreads more widely in Thailand.

The petition, which highlights that only 1-2% of Thailand’s population has been fully vaccinated, was created on Wednesday and had attracted almost 20,000 signatures by mid-day today (Friday).

Only Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines have, so far, been acquired and administered in Thailand. More than 2.64 million doses have been administered since February, with 921,825 people having received two doses.

The group said there have been previous calls for the government to open channels to acquire alternative vaccine supplies through private hospitals, to solve the problem of the government’s slow management. Government agencies responded, however, that private hospitals can acquire alternative vaccines through the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO), which means that people will pay for it themselves, when they should not have to.

The group also alleges that there is unclear information as to the price and the amount of vaccines acquired. Most importantly, there’s no clear answer as to why some vaccines will be available in October, at the earliest, while the number of infections and deaths are still increasing and hospital beds will be in very short supply very soon.

Arguing that the public should have the freedom to choose which vaccine they want, the group called for the government to be more transparent and allow the acquisition of vaccines, besides AstraZeneca and Sinovac, in case third or fourth doses are needed.

The government previously explained that manufacturers of vaccines approved for emergency use can only deal with governments.

Meanwhile, according to the GPO, 6 million doses of Sinovac vaccine have been imported into Thailand, with the latest lot of 1.5 million arriving on Thursday. Another lot of 3 million doses is expected to be delivered in June.