Culture 101: when saving faces is more important than saving lives

There’s a conspiracy to allow Thailand’s medical professionals to possibly die to save the faces of the Kingdom’s ruling generals.

The hashtag #ฉีดPfizerให้บุคลากรการแพทย์ (give Pfizer to medical professionals) is top trending. In addition, there’s an online campaign hunting for signatures for government submission.

The news media reported a leaked government document dated 30 June, which outlined the usage of the Pfizer vaccine in Thailand. The recommendations are from three government-appointed committees.

Of the long list of recommendations, number 10 stated:

“Currently, if we give the vaccine [Pfizer] to the third group [medical professionals], it would tantamount to admitting that Sinovac is ineffective in prevention. It will be even more difficult to find an excuse.”

Living in Thailand, one can become desensitized to senseless measures urinated from ineptitude and inhumane actions defecated from a backward cultural mindset.

The culprit in this conspiracy is the face-saving culture. People will lose too much face if they admit that Sinovac is the lesser vaccine.

To save faces, if some doctors and nurses are infected with COVID-19 so that the government may continue to pretend their vaccine management strategy is the correct one, so be it.

If some doctors and nurses may die because Pfizer is denied, so be it.

If medical ethics and humanity need to be flushed down the toilet, so be it.

It is up to General Prayut Chan-o-cha to tear up this recommendation and flush down bureaucratic red tapes and bring in as many alternative vaccines as possible, as soon as possible. And fire everyone on those three committees.

It is up to Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, who loves to wear the white medical gown and plays the champion in protecting our medical professionals, to denounce such a recommendation. He should do everything in his power to make sure doctors and nurses get the right vaccine.

It would be a travesty if “finding an excuse” once again proves “not too difficult.”

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