Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul on Tuesday urged those who are still waiting for a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to give up and instead register for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine that is being offered under the government’s vaccination programme.
His advice came as he asked all provincial health offices and regional offices of the Department of Disease Control (DDC) to try and get all of those who remained unvaccinated against COVID-19 in their area vaccinated within two weeks from now.
“Ditch your vaccine orders and come for vaccines from the government… Those who have ordered a Moderna [vaccine] jab but have yet to receive it, come to us and we will give you Pfizer [vaccine] instead,” he said.
As of Tuesday, more than 90 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered under the government’s inoculation campaign, “which is close to our target of administering 100 million doses by the end of this month”, he said.
The minister noted that while the government is capable of administering up to one million doses each day, the rate of vaccination has been declining in recent weeks.
However, he added, the decline might simply be due to the fact that many people have already had their jabs.
Separately, Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai said on Tuesday several European countries are willing to donate vaccines to Thailand.
Mr Don was speaking after one million doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine donated by the United States arrived in Thailand on Monday.
He did not name the countries prepared to donate but said the Ministry of Public Health had the details.
Asked if Thailand would open to tourists from more than the 63 countries and territories now allowed to enter with minimal quarantine, Mr Pramudwinai said that was for the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) to decide.
He said countries considered low-risk may be added to the list. Tourists must comply with conditions stipulated by the government, especially the vaccination requirements.
Meanwhile, government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said the cabinet on Tuesday acknowledged a plan to buy another 30 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which would bring the total number purchased from the company to 60 million doses.
The plan was approved earlier by the CCSA. The 30 million doses are expected to be delivered to Thailand between the first and third quarters of next year, he said.