Officials on the southern island of Phuket are aiming to vaccinate 100,000 residents as a first step in meeting the deadline for a July 1 re-opening. Under the approved “Sandbox” model, foreign tourists can enter Phuket from that date without having to undergo mandatory quarantine, provided 70% of the island’s population has been vaccinated. A tall order…

Nation Thailand reports that Phuket governor, Narong Woonclew, has met with the relevant agencies and community leaders to discuss how vaccine doses will be allocated. He is calling on all Phuket residents to prepare for vaccination by signing up on the provincial health office website.

In order to meet the criteria for the planned July 1 re-opening, at least 466,587 Phuket residents need to receive 2 vaccine doses. At the meeting, officials agreed an initial goal of vaccinating 100,000 residents next month. Narong says Phuket will then receive a further 300,000 doses in May, followed by 200,000 in June, and 260,000 in July. This adds up to a total of 920,000 doses.

The Thaiger recently conducted an informal poll to gauge the response to the “Sandbox” plan. The responses seem to indicate a degree of scepticism among the local expat population, with 54% believing the plan will fail. Many point to an unwillingness among Thais to accept the vaccine, while others say the government is ignoring the fact that many countries have placed travel restrictions on their citizens. The plan also appears to ignore the expat population on the island.

Despite the less-than-enthusiastic response in some quarters, Phuket’s governor is urging residents to register for vaccination before March 31, adding that if at least 50,000 people don’t register, future vaccine procurement may be affected.


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SOURCE: Nation Thailand