No preferential treatment is being given in the allocation of COVID-19 vaccines unless there is a sound reason justifying it, the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) insists.
Gen Natthapon Nakpanich, secretary-general of the National Security Council and the director of the CCSA’s operations centre said all requests for a special COVID-19 vaccine quota by either public or private organisation are required to be submitted with the CCSA vaccination registration system, known as Mor Prom. Requests are then carefully examined as to whether the CCSA grants them or not.
Earlier this week, Thai Beverage Plc was accused of receiving preferential treatment after it emerged permanent secretary for the interior Chatchai Promlert had successfully secured vaccines for 43,200 of its employees and their family members.
Mr Promlert responded to the fierce criticism on Sunday by cancelling the vaccine order. Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda said Mr Promlert had insisted the original request asking for a special vaccine quota for the company was a misunderstanding.
Although a special request for a vaccine quota for specific individuals, groups or organisations can be made, it must be made through the Mor Prom vaccination registration system, he said.
When particular vaccine quotas are allocated to provinces, the provincial communicable disease committee decides who gets the vaccine first, he said.
Gen Paojinda denied the ministry gives any unwarranted preferential treatment to any particular party in COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
Aside from certain priority groups, a special vaccine quota was only given to Phuket where the country’s first pilot tourism reopening programme is due to kick off next month, said Gen Nakpanich.
Key priority groups include front-line medical and healthcare workers, other front-line workers and workers with a high risk of contracting COVID-19.
Others include the elderly, people with underlying medical conditions, and residents of areas where there has been a serious outbreak, he said.