Covid jab campaign for foreign tourists expanding nationwide
The Public Health Ministry on Tuesday asked provinces nationwide to open vaccination centres so foreign tourists can get affordable Covid-19 jabs.
Ministry permanent secretary Opas Karnkawinpong said the move is part of measures to contain Covid-19 as Thailand is a top destination for international travellers.
Vaccines procured by the government would be available at the centres, he added.
The move is expected to give Chinese tourists access to mRNA vaccines that are unavailable in their homeland.
Opas also confirmed that foreign residents such as businesspeople, workers and diplomats can still receive free vaccine jabs.
Health agencies have been told to ensure vaccine stocks are sufficient to cover the Thai population, he added.
A pilot project to vaccinate foreign tourists kicked off on January 18 with cooperation from several public health agencies, Department of Disease Control director-general Dr Tares Krassanairawiwong said.
Foreign travellers can receive Covid jabs at Bang Rak Medical Centre and the Institute for Urban Disease Control and Prevention in Bangkok. He added that Covid vaccination is also available in tourism provinces such as Chiang Mai, Pattaya and Phuket.
"Several agencies including the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and medical schools have submitted requests to set up vaccination points for foreign tourists," he said.
AstraZeneca and Pfizer jabs are priced at 800 baht and 1,000 baht, respectively.
He added that foreign tourists must pay a 380-baht medical service fee on top of the jab cost.
He also confirmed that Thailand has sufficient vaccine in stock to meet demand from Thais and foreigners.
Foreign tourists can currently get jabs at four hospitals in Bangkok – the Institute of Dermatology, Rajavithi Hospital, Lerdsin Hospital, Nopparat Rajathanee Hospital – and at Chiangmai Neurological Hospital, said Medical Services department chief Dr Thongchai Keeratihuttayakorn.
He added that the Institute of Dermatology and Rajavithi Hospital are the main vaccination points for foreign tourists as both are located near tourist hotels and have staff who are fluent in foreign languages.
"The department has laid on [hospital] public relations staff who are proficient in English and Chinese," he said.
Thirty hospitals under the department nationwide have been asked to set up vaccination points for foreign visitors.
He added that the department’s vaccination programme for Thais was now focused on administering booster doses to protect against severe symptoms and death.