Govt eyes vaccine hubs for tourists

Govt eyes  vaccine hubs for tourists

The Ministry of Public Health is planning to establish at least one Covid-19 vaccination centre per province where foreign tourists can pay for a shot, while foreign residents will continue to get free jabs.

Opas: ‘At least onein each province’

Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, permanent secretary for health, said yesterday that vaccination centres would be set up in all provinces because foreign tourists did not limit their visits to only major provinces.

The vaccination service would be provided on a voluntary basis, and the government would use only the vaccines that it procured, Dr Opas said.

Foreigners staying long-term in the country would continue to receive free Covid-19 vaccines, in line with government policy to vaccinate all residents, he said.

Dr Tares Krassanairawiwong, director-general of the Disease Control Department, said his department has provided a vaccination service at Bang Rak Medical Centre in Bang Rak district as well as the Institute for Urban Disease Control and Prevention in Bang Khen district.

The department has provided the same service at its travel medicine clinics in Chiang Mai, Chon Buri and Songkhla provinces, and also in Phuket province.

Foreign tourists must pay 800 baht for a shot of AstraZeneca or 1,000 baht per Pfizer vaccine dose, plus a 380 baht medical service fee, Dr Tares said.

The department had not yet given approval for private organisations to provide the service. It was still in the planning stage, he said.

Dr Thongchai Keeratihuttayakorn, director-general of the Department of Medical Services, said his department is providing vaccination services at its Institute of Dermatology, Lerdsin Hospital, Rajavithi Hospital, Nopparat Rajathanee Hospital and at Chiangmai Neurological Hospital.

The Institute of Dermatology and Rajavithi Hospital were the main vaccination centres because they are near areas where tourists stay, he said.