Private sector offers to help govt speed up vaccine rollout
The government is partnering up with the private sector to start a “Thailand Team” comprising four separate working groups to accelerate the administration of Covid-19 vaccines to 50 million people this year.
The Thai Chamber of Commerce board of directors met Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha at Government House on Wednesday to present its guidelines on driving the vaccine rollout.
According to its guidelines, the four teams will oversee:
• Distribution and Logistics: In the first phase, 14 pilot venues will be chosen covering the capital’s five main areas, with approximately 1,000 to 2,000 jabs being delivered at each venue daily. Of the 14 venues, ranging from shopping centres and offices to petrol stations, two will be based in north Bangkok, four in south Bangkok, three in eastern Bangkok, two in north Thonburi and three in south Thonburi. This setup will accommodate the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA)’s aim to have 20,500 people inoculated per day. The next step for the team will be to set up mobile units in communities to reduce crowding.
• Communication: A team will be in charge of raising public awareness and updated official information on Covid-19 vaccines. The information will be provided both online and offline through most social media platforms.
• IT Operation: A team will be assigned to set up an online registration system to cut down on people’s exposure to the virus. The aim is to boost efficiency.
• Procurement of extra vaccines: This team will collect information on companies willing to spend on getting their staff vaccinated. Currently, 2,629 companies have put in requests to have 921,817 employees jabbed. In addition, another joint team will negotiate vaccine procurement deals with new manufacturers to help a wider, more efficient rollout of vaccines.
The Chamber of Commerce has also proposed a plan to help businesses gain access to financial help, including improving laws to help business operations. The government says it has prepared packages for small businesses, including soft loans, debt suspension, etc, and also claims it is ready to consider proposals on boosting businesses and re-opening the country.
Kalin Sarasin, chair of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, voiced confidence over the government’s decision to purchase 100 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, which will cover 50 million people, adding that the private sector will help distribute the jabs quickly and efficiently.