The Ministry of Public Health will next month be launching “Mor Prom,” a phone app that lets people book their COVID-19 vaccines.
“I would like all Thai people to download the application to reserve their COVID-19 vaccination,” Dr Kiattiphum Wongrajit, the ministry’s permanent secretary, said on Thursday.
“We need to create herd immunity to prevent another outbreak and revive our economy. To do so, we do need to get the vaccine to at least half of our population.”
The app, expected to launch on 1st May, allows users to book their free jabs at designated state hospitals and public health stations, from June.
It also includes a feature that enables post-vaccination monitoring to check for side effects.
Those registered with Mor Prom in June will be allocated up to five million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine produced locally by Siam Bioscience, its authorised local manufacturer. The company plans to produce more in the months to come.
Each hospital in the government’s scheme is expected to administer 500 doses per day, according to Dr Wongrajit. The Public Health Ministry will also be setting up mobile vaccine units to reach people in remote areas.
By the end of this year, Dr Wongrajit said the ministry planned to administer 61 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines and two million doses of Sinovac’s.
As most vaccines require two doses for immunisation, the 61 million doses the government procured earlier this year covers roughly 30 million people and prioritises those considered most vulnerable.
Pongsadhorn Pokpermdee, a senior advisor to the Ministry of Public Health, said the ministry was developing alternative channels for those without access to advanced mobile phone technology so they could also register for the state vaccination programme.
A recent survey found that 80% of people living in Bangkok use phone apps as their main means of communication, a number that falls to 50% for people outside the capital.
Mr Pokpermdee said people could get their jabs at any hospital they already have a record of having been treated, or any hospital with social security contract.
People given their two shots will automatically be issued a digital vaccine certificate by the Mor Prom app and this can later be used to apply for an International Travel Health Certificate in any hospital.
In another development, Department of Disease Control (DDC) director-general Opas Karnkawinpong said a post-mortem would be performed on a 71-year-old monk who died a few hours after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The monk, from Wat Samphanthawong temple in Bangkok, was reported to have had severe diabetes and high blood pressure. He had been given the jab at 10 am on Wednesday and was found dead in his monastic cloister at 2 pm.