11 July 2024

Samut Sakhon Governor Veerasak Vichitsangsri is publicly complaining that his province will be getting fewer vaccines than requested, as many netizens in this coastal province change their profile hashtag to “Give Back Vaccines to Samut Sakhon People.”

In his Facebook post today (Tuesday), the governor said that, for the past seven months, since the worst outbreak of COVID-19 in Samut Sakhon began in mid-December, all sectors in the province have joined forces to cope with the problem, including the business sector which is being hard hit.

He said he does not think his province should be treated as a priority, but it does want sufficient vaccines to help in fighting the contagion, adding that he understands the need for the vaccines to be distributed across the country.

He said that the initial vaccine allocation of 330,000 doses for Samut Sakhon has been cut. While he understands the vaccines need to be distributed nationwide, however, it should not be reduced to the extent that “we won’t be able to fight (the disease).”

Governor Veerasak himself has been through a long ordeal with COVID-19. He spent 82 days under treatment at Siriraj hospital in Bangkok, including 42 days unconscious and on a ventilator. At one point, he nearly died. He was discharged from the hospital in mid-March, after he had tested positive on December 28th.

Veerasak said yesterday that the widespread change of profile hashtags by people in the province reflects their keen awareness of the need to get inoculated quickly after his province was allocated just tens of thousands of doses of vaccines. He explained that his province should be allotted 300,000 doses for three legitimate reasons.

First, the COVID-19 situation in the province has not improved, as evident in the number of infections, which have now soared to over 6,000 since April 1st, 2021, making Samut Sakhon one of the top ten provinces for high infection rates.

Second, the field hospital in the province is accommodating people from other provinces, in addition to local patients.

Third, Samut Sakhon is an economically significant province, which is home to more than 7,000 factories that generate between 500 and 600 billion baht in revenue each year.

The governor, however, said that there are further reasons to justify the province’s need for vaccines, as he sought sympathy from the government.