The Department of Disease Control (DDC) is aiming to complete its inoculation target of giving the first COVID-19 vaccine shot to at least 50% of the population by the end of next month. It also hopes to provide 1 million doses in just one day later this month.
Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of the DDC, said people have learned to live with the pandemic. They have been following the Ministry of Public Health’s universal prevention guidelines, such as wearing masks, washing hands and social distancing in crowded areas.
From 28th February to 16th September, about 43.3 million shots of vaccine were given to people, of which 28.4 million were first doses and around 14.3 million were the second.
“We can give vaccines at a rate of 900,000 doses per day and hope to reach our plan for half of the population to have had the first jab by October. “To mark a key public health event on Sept 24, we will provide one million doses on that day,” he said.
Next Friday is Prince Mahidol day, which commemorates the prince’s contributions to the development of modern medical education in Thailand and his devotion to the healthcare of Thais. Prince Mahidol, the father of the late King Rama IX, passed away on 24th September 1929.
Meanwhile, Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will draft a proposal to reopen five provinces to foreign tourists, with the tentative date being 1st October.
The proposal will be submitted to the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) for approval on 23rd September, he said.
The five provinces are Bangkok, Chon Buri (Pattaya City, Bang Lamung district, and Sattahip district), Phetchaburi (Cha-am district), Prachuap Khiri Khan (Hua Hin district) and Chang Mai (Muang, Mae Taeng, Mae Rim and Doi Tao districts).
TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said all the provinces, except for Bangkok, are now ready for the reopening.
For Chon Buri, 51% of the population has received their first dose and 24% the second.
For Phetchaburi, about 47% of the population has had the first shot and 27% the second.
In Prachuap Khiri Khan, about 40% are vaccinated with the first shot and 26% the second. In Chiang Mai, only 29% of the population has had the first shot and 17% the second.
In Bangkok, about 94% of the population has received the first shot of the vaccine and 40% the second.
The target for Bangkok before it can reopen is 70% having had the second dose by 22nd October.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is in talks with the Ministry of Public Health over the possibility of speeding up supplying more doses of the vaccine to the city so it could reopen sooner.