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SVA - Sinovac Biotech News Story

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UPDATE 1-Thailand says foreigners to get COVID-19 vaccines amid access concern

Thu 6th May, 2021 8:27am
(Recasts with vaccinations for foreigners)
    BANGKOK, May 6 (Reuters) - Thailand confirmed on Thursday
that it plans to include 3 million foreigners living in the
country in its mass vaccination programme to protect the entire
population, amid concerns over the scope of vaccine access. 
    "Anybody living in Thailand, whether they be Thai or
foreign, if they want they vaccine, they can get it," head of
the disease control department, Opas Kankawinpong told a
    "No one is safe until everyone is safe," he added.
    The government has repeatedly said foreigners would be
offered vaccines.
    But concerns among expatriates have been raised in recent
weeks, with some venting frustrations on social media about a
lack of public information, problems registering or confusion
over private vaccine availability.
    Thailand needs to immunise about 50 million people to
achieve herd immunity of about 70% of the population, based on
estimates of 67 million Thais and 3 million foreign residents,
he said. 
    The country has yet to start its mass immunisation programme
but has administered vaccines to mostly frontline workers from
its stock of 2.5 million doses of Sinovac  SVA.O  vaccines. 
    Its main source of vaccines will be a local manufacturer set
to produce AstraZeneca's  AZN.L  vaccines after June. 
    Anxiety over vaccines has risen as Thailand as it deals with
its biggest outbreak so far, with more than two-thirds of its
336 fatalities recorded in the past month alone.
    New daily infections have been stable at around 2,000 since
mid-April. There were 1,911 new coronavirus cases and 18 deaths
announced on Thursday.  
    The health ministry is working on other ways to include
non-Thais in the vaccination programme, including via mobile
applications or direct contact from hospitals, according to the
foreign ministry. 

 (Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng and Panarat Thepgumpanat;
Editing by Martin Petty)
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