Phuket in rush to inject 780,000 doses before reopening to foreign travellers next month


Phuket will need to administer an estimated 780,000 Covid-19 jabs in less than a month to meet its target of inoculating 70 per cent of the population before reopening to foreign tourists.

As of Tuesday (June 1), the island had administered just 170,000 of the estimated 930,000 jabs required before it can safely open as scheduled on July 1.

On Wednesday, Deputy Governor Piyapong Chuwong reiterated that at least 70 per cent of the local population must be vaccinated before the quarantine-free “sandbox” pilot scheme launches for foreign tourists.

Targeted for vaccination are 466,000 Thais, expats and migrant workers on Phuket.

These consist of 310,000 Phuket locals, about 100,000 workers from other provinces, and 56,000 foreign workers from Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, Piyapong said.

As of Tuesday, 170,000 people had received their first shot of Sinovac vaccine, with their second shot due in mid-June, he added.

From Monday (June 7), AstraZeneca jabs will be rolled out for people over 60 and those with underlying health conditions, said the deputy governor.

However, Phuket authorities have announced that migrant workers will be vaccinated on June 3-5 – a decision that has been criticised for prioritising this group over elderly people and those with underlying health issues.