23 May 2024

Thailand’s Ministry of Interior has made an abrupt U-turn over its decision to grant privileged COVID-19 vaccination access to employees of Thai Beverage Public Company Limited, or ThaiBev, and their families, after the move came under widespread criticism on social media.

ThaiBev, Thailand’s largest and one of Southeast Asia’s largest beverage companies, with offices in six countries, asked the Interior Ministry for an allocation of vaccines to inoculate its 43,201 employees and 28,244 family members in all provinces of Thailand including Bangkok.

On June 17th, Interior Permanent Secretary Chatchai Promlert sent an urgent tele-message to all provincial governors instructing them to spare vaccines to inoculate ThaiBev’s employees and families.

The action by Mr. Chatchai, in favour of ThaiBev, drewwidespread criticism from members of the public on social media, prompting the permanent secretary to issue a second tele-message to overrule the his instruction.

Defending his previous action, Mr. Chatchai said the decisionwas in line with the National Communicable Disease Committee’s guidelines and went through proper channels, including the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration ThaiBev, employees and families, Interior Ministry, U-turn, criticismChatchai Promlert(CCSA)’s secretariat, the Ministry of Public Health and provincial communicable disease committees.

More than 10,000 state agencies and private companies and organizations have booked Sinopharm vaccine with the Chulabhorn Royal Academy with their own funding for their employees.