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Thailand's Phuket plans private vaccination drive, aims for October reopening


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Thailand's Phuket plans private vaccination drive, aims for October reopening

By Chayut Setboonsarng and Panarat Thepgumpanat

 

2021-02-03T101537Z_1_LYNXMPEH120SW_RTROPTP_4_HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-THAILAND.JPG

FILE PHOTO: Empty chairs are seen on a beach which is usually full of tourists, amid fear of coronavirus in Phuket, Thailand March 11, 2020. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun/File Photo

 

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand's resort island of Phuket is planning private coronavirus vaccinations for 250,000 residents in the hope the government will allow it to fully reopen to foreign tourists by October and save its battered economy, industry officials said.

 

"The people of Phuket are losing hope," Phuket Tourism Association President, Bhummikitti Ruktaengam said, adding that the island's economy was at its lowest point in recent history.

 

About 10.5 million of the nearly 40 million foreign visitors to Thailand in 2019 visited Phuket.

 

The Southeast Asian nation had only 6.7 million arrivals nationwide last year due to its coronavirus border closures.

 

Foreign tourism revenue in Phuket dropped 78% to 87.5 million baht ($2.92 million) in 2020 with 2.1 million arrivals.

 

At least 10 Phuket industry associations including hotel, tourism and chambers of commerce have agreed to pool resources to procure vaccines and inoculate at least 70% of the island to create sufficient immunity by Oct. 1 to receive tourists.

 

Phuket's population is at least 400,000 and the private vaccination drive would cover most adults before a nationwide government immunisation programme for the public starts in June.

 

"We are in talks with three major hospital networks to procure AstraZeneca and Sinovac vaccines," Bhummikitti said, declining to provide details.

 

He also argued foreign tourists vaccinated abroad should not have to undergo quarantine.

 

"They have immunity, we will have immunity," he said. "We talk to each other through masks. The logic works."

 

Others in Thailand agreed.

 

Quarantine should be relaxed or eliminated for vaccinated foreigners, chief strategy officer hotel operator Minor International Pcl, Chaiyapat Paitoon told a panel discussion.

 

Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn, said a "vaccine passport" was being discussed by the country’s coronavirus taskforce.

 

Thailand, which has recorded 21,249 coronavirus infections and 79 fatalities, will largely use 61 million locally made doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine for its immunisation drive and will use a limited number of imported ones in the early stages.

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2021-02-03
 
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5 hours ago, RichardColeman said:

Got my first NHS covid vaccine booked for 8th Feb and the follow up for the 27th.

 

Happy to come 28th April if the flights are there, no quarantine and no other rubbish required for fully vaccinated people.

 

 

Does being vaccinated also mean you cannot "carry" the infection, still able to spread the love?

Just asking.

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3 hours ago, hotchilli said:

Does being vaccinated also mean you cannot "carry" the infection, still able to spread the love?

Just asking.

If you do not open up to vaccinated people at some point , you may as well just give up now. I'd be happy if they set an October/November date for opening up with no nonsense for vaccinated people. 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Dagfinnur Traustason said:

Sure, it all sound smashing! 🙂

I see one problem, though. How is Phuket going to find 250 000 vaccine, when the whole Thailand has problem getting 50 000?

Exactly my thoughts. Most countries in the world are struggling to purchase enough vaccines for health workers and risk groups. And by magic, Phuket gets it's doses to start tourism. In your dreams...

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16 hours ago, RichardColeman said:

Got my first NHS covid vaccine booked for 8th Feb and the follow up for the 27th.

 

Happy to come 28th April if the flights are there, no quarantine and no other rubbish required for fully vaccinated people.

 

 

I would not book now because I can assure you in April there will still be quarantine. That is a certainty 

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I would love to know where they are going to get the vaccine from. I would have thought that government orders take priority and the government is having problems because of the EU export ban

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16 hours ago, RichardColeman said:

Got my first NHS covid vaccine booked for 8th Feb and the follow up for the 27th.

 

Happy to come 28th April if the flights are there, no quarantine and no other rubbish required for fully vaccinated people.

 

 

Mine is 6th Feb and follow up on 10th April but I don't hold out any hope that restrictions will be lifted by April. Also you must wait for the second vaccine to become effective which is 2 to 4 weeks from the date of vaccination (your body has to produce the antibodies) so you wouldn't be allowed back until the end of May even if restrictions were lifted

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3 minutes ago, RobU said:

Mine is 6th Feb and follow up on 10th April but I don't hold out any hope that restrictions will be lifted by April. Also you must wait for the second vaccine to become effective which is 2 to 4 weeks from the date of vaccination (your body has to produce the antibodies) so you wouldn't be allowed back until the end of May even if restrictions were lifted

Did you have trouble booking your second dose ? I had no issues booking the first one in nearby hospitals but booking the second always came up as not available and to use other hospitals miles away.

 

I agree, I'm not even considering planning any return to Thailand until end of the year at the best, wife and kid are safe for now and that's all that matters. I mean BA are closed until October and I cannot see flights this summer - I think summer will be cancelled again

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2 hours ago, RichardColeman said:

Did you have trouble booking your second dose ? I had no issues booking the first one in nearby hospitals but booking the second always came up as not available and to use other hospitals miles away.

 

I agree, I'm not even considering planning any return to Thailand until end of the year at the best, wife and kid are safe for now and that's all that matters. I mean BA are closed until October and I cannot see flights this summer - I think summer will be cancelled again

No I didn't have any problem with the second dose they gave me it over the phone at the same time as the first dose. They rang me because I am going into hospital at the end of the month for a planned operation. we have 2 major hospitals in my area one in the town centre and one on the outskirts there aren't any others for 12 miles and I am not sure that they do the vaccinations.

 

I agree with you about the safety of your loved ones. My lady is in the hills in Nong Khai province  and feel that she is very safe

I think you may be right about October, I certainly hope so, also the cool season and the major travel period for people like me. I missed last year and i don't want to miss this year

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