Medical Workers To Receive 500,000 Donated Pfizer Shots

No less than half a million doses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine donated by the United States would be allocated to frontline healthcare workers, the Public Health Ministry said.

On Sunday, the ministry spokesman Rungrueng Kijphati denied rumors that only 200,000 doses of the 1.5 million Pfizer shots would be given to medical personnel.

Besides, he emphasized that no VIPs would be allowed to bypass their system to get vaccines.

Most of Thailand’s frontline healthcare workers, estimated to be around 700,000, have received two Covid-19 Sinovac shots.

But many mistrust the jab’s efficacy against the most contagious virus variants, including the Delta strain, which now dominates the country’s case toll.

Speculation surrounding the officials’ plan to allocate the donated jabs emerged after Rungsrit Kanjanavanit, a cardiologist at Chiang Mai University’s Faculty of Medicine, claimed they would only administer 200,000 shots to frontline personnel.

Dr. Rungsrit wrote on Facebook that the government had initially promised to give 700,000 Pfizer jabs to healthcare workers.

But the quota was later reduced to 500,000 before settling at 200,000 million, Dr. Rungsrit added.

Dr. Rungsrit stated that he could live with the “low immunity” from the two Sinovac jabs, despite facing a moderate infection risk for being a cardiologist, until there are enough vaccines for everyone.

“But if the 300,000 missing doses [of the Pfizer vaccine] end up being given to VIPs and their relatives, I wouldn’t be OK with that,” Dr. Rungsrit went on.

However, Dr. Rungrueng described the claims as “fake news” at a news conference on Sunday.

“It is not true that some of the Pfizer vaccine are earmarked for VIPs. The vaccines are for health workers and at-risk groups. VIPs are not a priority,” he said.

The doses would arrive later this month, Dr. Rungrueng stated explaining that they would be given as booster shots to frontline medical personnel in August.

Meanwhile, some healthcare workers have received a booster jab from AstraZeneca.

Dr. Rungrueng said that those who have received the AstraZeneca shot as a booster chose not to wait for the Pfizer vaccine to arrive.

They “made the decision on their own, without anyone forcing them to,” Dr. Rungrueng added.

Regarding the other 20-million batch of Pfizer shots, he stated that they would be used to inoculate more people from priority groups in a new vaccination program scheduled to roll out during the last quarter.