Thailand has repeated its commitment to give everyone in the country - including expats and migrant workers - vaccinations against COVID-19.
Speaking on Thursday, Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) deputy spokesperson Apisamai Srirangsan said that everyone living in Thailand, including foreigners, will be able to receive the vaccine.
"The distribution of vaccinations will include expatriates and migrant workers”, Dr Apisamai said.
She added that Thailand will receive its first batch of vaccines on February 24, with those deemed to be most at risk the first to be inoculated.
People working in the tourism or service sectors or those that are likely to come in contact with foreign tourists would be vaccinated in phase 2 from May. Expats and foreign workers are likely to be vaccinated in phase 3 from June.
Dr Apisamai said the rollout of the vaccine will aim to achieve three goals, including to curb infections and reduce deaths from the virus, ease the burden on Thailand’s healthcare system and revive the economy.
Dr Apisamai also said that the private sector will be able to procure its own vaccines, providing the vaccines have approval from the regulatory authorities.
Vaccinations administered by the private sector can only be done so at a recognised medical facility, Dr Apisamai added.
The news echoes comments made earlier this month by Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul who also said foreigners in Thailand would receive the vaccine.
“The 63 million doses of the vaccination are enough to cover the public, and it’s within our capacity to provide free vaccinations,” Anutin said.
“Our policy is to not leave anyone behind and we must inoculate anyone at risk of spreading the virus, not only Thais. So the vaccines will cover everyone that resides in Thailand,” he added.