According to Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, the government is planning to launch a public relations campaign to convince more citizens, especially seniors, to book their appointment to receive COVID-19 vaccine shots as only 10% of the state’s target has been met.
Ministry figures showed that 1,608,006 people have so far secured vaccination appointments, as of yesterday. According to the Public Health Ministry’s Immunisation Centre, this accounts for only 10% of 16 million people aged 60 and above and those with congenital illnesses.
The two groups are the main targets during the national inoculation drive, which is expected to roll out in July.
More confidence in vaccination needs to be instilled among the population, Mr Charnvirakul said. The public relations campaign will cover the importance of being vaccinated, he added.
The underlining benefits of being vaccinated must be communicated to the people, Mr Charnvirakul said, adding that it will lessen the chances of people developing severe COVID-19 symptoms and hospitalisation. “And it will prevent death,” he said.
He said he was responding to a raft of misinformation attacking the efficacy of some vaccines on social media and the government’s handling of the national inoculation programme.
The vaccine offers a safeguard and is the essential instrument in stopping the global transmission of the virus, Mr Charnvirakul said. After herd immunity is achieved, the virus will become a common ailment, he said.
The health minister also attempted to allay fears about the emergence of new coronavirus strains. He said the government will take full responsibility in combating the virus for people’s well-being.
He insisted the vaccines the government has in store have been carefully selected by a panel of experts in related fields.
“The vetting is done with the utmost concern for people’s safety,” he said.
He said that some people experienced some side effects following their vaccination but these cases are rare.