Thailand will meet its target of administering 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine by the end of November, a month ahead of schedule, according to government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana.
The spokesman said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was satisfied with the progress of the national inoculation campaign, adding the Ministry of Public Health is expecting to administer the 100-millionth dose before the end of the month.
On Wednesday, the Department of Disease Control (DDC) dispatched 11 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the provinces to speed up the jab drive.
Mr Wangboonkongchana said several provinces, including Bangkok, have vaccinated more than 80% of their population.
As of Thursday, 82,217,981 doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered — 44,777,147 of which were given as first doses, while 35,758,836 were second doses.
Meanwhile, 2,678,171 were given as third doses and 3,827 as fourth doses.
More than 86% of the 3,866,840 students who have registered for a COVID-19 jab have received a first dose, while about 11% were fully vaccinated.
Separately, a source said the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) will discuss a proposal submitted by the Ministry of Labour to bring in more migrant workers to ease the nation’s labour shortage.
The CCSA meeting, which will be chaired by Gen Chan-o-cha, is also expected to review a report on the tourism reopening.
It will also consider the readjusted COVID-19 zoning and restrictions imposed by the Ministry of Public Health, said the source.
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said vaccines will be allocated to the provinces designated as “blue zones” to speed up the inoculation drive.
He said the vaccines are having an impact on the overall outbreak, as the number of infections and deaths are decreasing.
However, he also noted that most of the people who died from COVID-19 were not fully vaccinated.
“Vaccines are the primary factor that will keep people safe. When symptoms are not severe, infections can be more easily treated. Don’t be afraid of the vaccines,” he said.
Mr Charnvirakul also called on members of the public who have yet to receive their jab to come forward, as vaccination rates are beginning to drop.
He said public health volunteers will try to convince those who are hesitant about getting inoculated.
He said the ministry is also considering buying the second generation of COVID-19 vaccines to fight new variants of the coronavirus. The plan, he said, will proceed when there is sufficient data to prove they are effective.
“We have to be careful and plan carefully, especially after the easing of restrictions.
“I’ve instructed the ministry to stockpile vaccines and medicines and speed up the rollout of booster shots,” he said.