11.6 million-plus doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, or around 4.4 percent of the population:
6.4 million Sinovac.
4.7 million AstraZeneca.
A vaccine civil war ensued over the past few months: Sinovac versus mRNA (specifically Pfizer and Moderna).
Thais pushing for mRNA are called nation-hating Three-hooves. Thais who champion Sinovac do so for the love of and loyalty to the kingdom.
Vaccine nationalism, if you will, even though Sinovac is Chinese.
Meanwhile, Singapore decided not to count people who received Sinovac in the nation’s total vaccinations. On 7 July, Reuters quoted Health Minister Ong Ye Kung:
“We don’t really have a medical or scientific basis or have the data now to establish how effective Sinovac is in terms of infection and severe illnesses on Delta [the mutated COVID-19 variant].”
On 6 July, the cabinet approved the purchase of 20 million doses of Pfizer. Thais, who already pre-paid for Moderna at 3,400 baht for two doses, went, “WTF?”
The three letters sum up the government’s vaccine management.
Those who can afford to pay couldn’t wait for the turtle-pace free government vaccines, especially since Sinovac is the main one, for the same reason as Singapore. Hence, they purchase Moderna.
But due to the head-spinning bureaucratic hurdles that private hospitals have to backflip over, Moderna won’t make it to the kingdom until October or November. Pfizer is expected to arrive before and for free.
So those pissed-off citizens asked: “WTF?”
The problem can be solved through clear planning and communication. If the government would explain who those 20 million Pfizer vaccines are for.
How many for healthcare workers? Medical professionals? Those under the age of 18? Etc.
How many will be left after “essential people” and “VVIPs” get their doses, or if none will be left at all?
So we, the people, can know if we are eligible for free Pfizer. If we aren’t eligible, then we may plan to save our own lives accordingly and pursue Moderna.
Of course, planning and communication are just too much to ask.
Hence, regardless of Three-hooves or Salims, nobody wins in this civil war.