Phuket launches vaccine drive with first 4,000 doses
Four-thousand doses of China’s Sinovac vaccine have arrived in Phuket, where the first jabs were administered on Monday afternoon (March 1).
Vachira Phuket Hospital director Dr Chalermpong Sukontapol said a group of 2,000 people had been prioritised for vaccination – 1,500 medical and public health staff and 500 government officials exposed to Covid-19 patients or at risk of infection.
Another 16,000 doses will arrive soon in tourism-dependent Phuket, which has been prioritised for vaccination as an economically significant province.
A further 48,000 doses will arrive in April or May, bringing Phuket’s total number of shots to 68,000. These will be administered to frontline health staff, tourism workers and people aged 60 and over.
Phuket pulled in around 10 million foreign tourists in 2019, but 80 per cent of its tourism businesses have gone bust during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the local tourism association.
Vachira Phuket Hospital has capacity to vaccinate around 400 people per day, but shots are being distributed to nearby hospitals to ensure vaccinations in Phuket reach 1,000-1,500 per day.