Nongprue Subdistrict has joined Pattaya in a drive to buy their own coronavirus vaccines with officials saying they can pull together 50 million baht out of their 500 million baht annual budget to vaccinate 80,000 residents.
Mayor Mai Chaiyanit said an emergency Nongprue Council meeting approved a proposal for direct vaccine purchases, which would supplement any allocation by the central government.
Pattaya’s mayor said Jan. 13 that the city has enough funds to purchase coronavirus vaccines directly once they’re approved by Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration.
The government earlier said it had secured 2 million doses of a vaccine produced by China’s Sinovac Biotech it plans to administer to medical workers, seniors, and vulnerable members of the public with pre-existing conditions.
More doses from China and AstraZeneca in Europe will come in the spring, with Thailand reserving a total of 65 million doses, which will only be enough to vaccinate less than half Thailand’s population of 66.5 million.
After announcing the private hospitals and local governments could directly purchase more vaccines, news that the Chinese vaccine had tested only 50.4 percent effective in a Brazilian trial has prompted the government to hit the brakes.
In addition to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha saying that Thais would not be “guinea pigs” to test a virus, he told local governments that Bangkok would oversee the distribution of all vaccines, privately purchased or not.
Nongprue said its goal is to vaccinate health workers, the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions.