Seven volunteers in Bangkok under probe over vaccination registration scam

Seven volunteers, helping people at the Bang Sue Grand Station vaccination to register for COVID-19 inoculation appointments, are under investigation by railway police, but no charges have yet been filed.

Today (Thursday July 29th) marked the first day of mobile phone registrations for vaccination appointments at Bang Sue for people aged 18 and over, for inoculations in August, in addition to vulnerable groups being prioritized, namely people aged 60 and over, pregnant women, those with any of the seven specified diseases and those weighing over 100 kgs.

Pol Maj-Gen Amnat Traipot, commander of the railway police, said today (Thursday) that a number of other people are also suspected of being involved in the scam, which was reported to the police yesterday by representatives of the Department of Medical Services.

He also said that several people will be summoned for questioning, including those who did not register themselves, but sought the help of some volunteers, at a cost ranging from 400-1,200 baht per head, payable in cash or by money transfer.

Thailand’s four mobile phone service providers, AIS, True, DTAC and NT, have been offering services to facilitate advance online registration for vaccinations at Bang Sue Grand Station.

Meanwhile, Dr. Mingkwan Vichaidith, director of the vaccination facility at the station, said that officials detected something unusual in the registration system last week, with additional registrations taking place after closing hours.

Further investigation showed it was the volunteers who made the registrations for about 2,000 people, via the True mobile phone system during the off-duty hours, she said, adding that evidence of money transfers implicates four volunteers.

She warned people who want to get vaccinated to register by themselves and not to fall prey to con artists who demand payment in return for a promise to secure them vaccination appointments.

Registration for vaccinations at the Bang Sue facility opened today at 11am, about two hours late due to a technical problem. 20,000 doses are to be administered each day, half of which for the newly registered groups.

True and DTAC separately announced today that the quota for the 18-59 age group has been fully booked. Those over 60 and people afflicted with any of the seven underlying diseases can, however, still register via the websites of the two phone service providers.

There have been complaints from numerous people about problems they encountered, leaving them unable to register. Some said they could not choose appointments after August, while others said that they could only choose August 30th.

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