As the Thai government continues to step up its vaccination rollout and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha insists that there will be enough vaccines for everyone, many Thais have lost confidence. And the few who can afford it fly abroad – at a significant cost – to get vaccinated against Covid-19. Coconuts reports that the reasons for doing so are varied… some have underlying health issues, others want an alternative to Chinese Sinovac or locally produced AstraZeneca.
Online personality Jakkrit Yompayorm aka Kru Tom Kam Thai (Teacher Tom Teaching Thai) shared photos on social media thanking the US government after receiving the two doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
“Done! Welcome to your normal life. Thank you, US government.
Jakkrit was able to get the vaccine at a Walmart store in the United States after giving out his name and answering a few questions about his health. This contrasts sharply with the bureaucratic process surrounding the vaccine rollout in Thailand, whereby people must first be considered eligible, then try to sign up on a platform that doesn’t always work, then wait for an appointment. you and hope it’s not. canceled, then show up with their official ID and stand in line, often for hours.
For Thai nationals who have renounced their government and can afford to travel to be vaccinated, a number of travel agencies offer vaccine packages, in which the tours are combined with the vaccination. They are not cheap, ranging from 67,000 to 245,000 baht, and in some cases the cost of a 14-day quarantine upon returning to Thailand is more than the cost of traveling abroad.
In Jakkrit’s case, he paid just over 20,000 baht for his return trip to the United States, but over 30,000 baht for his stay in quarantine on his return – despite the fact that he received 2 doses of Pfizer vaccine.
Suwincha “Chacha” Singsuwan, also traveled to the United States to be vaccinated after realizing that she would not be vaccinated anytime soon in Thailand. She is young, with no underlying health issues, but runs several bars and restaurants in Bangkok and feels responsible for protecting the more than 60 employees who work for her.
With bars in Thailand currently closed indefinitely, she decided to visit her sister in the United States and get the vaccine at the same time. She says that despite the fact that she is not a U.S. citizen and does not have health insurance, she was able to get the Johnson & Johnson single dose vaccine without difficulty.
Sucha Nuntaworanuch, who has family in the United States, watched from Thailand as her parents and siblings were all vaccinated and realized her only hope for vaccination was to join them.
She too received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, administered at a Costco store. She says she got in and out in half an hour, which only increased her frustration with the Thai government.
The United States received a lot of vaccines, but why didn’t Thailand import them? I felt a lot of empathy for the Thais who could not register for the vaccines. “
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