Thailand launches fourth COVID-19 shot in 10 provinces

The Thai Government is ramping up the launch of fourth COVID-19 shots to residents in tourism-dependent regions, as the nation prepares for border reopening next month.

At COVID-19 vaccination site in Bangkok, Thailand (Photo: Xinhua/VNA)
At COVID-19 vaccination site in Bangkok, Thailand (Photo: Xinhua/VNA)

Deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek said on January 23 that the Department of Disease Control plans to administer the fourth doses to 2.5 million people, including Thai and foreign nationals, in 10 provinces – four popular tourist destinations and six others with relatively high infection rates.

AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines are being offered to those who have received their third dose at least three months ago, the Public Health Ministry said.

The ministry’s initial plan was to offer fourth COVID-19 shots to only medical and public health staff and people in vulnerable groups.

Thailand is among a short list of countries including Chile and Israel that are offering the fourth shot. It has already administered more than 800,000 fourth doses, mostly to health care workers and those in high-risk groups, official data showed.

The country reported 7,139 new infections and 13 deaths on January 24, bringing the total caseload and death toll to 2,384,639 and 22,045, respectively.

About 17 percent of Thailand's almost 70 million population have received three doses of COVID-19 vaccines, while 69 percent have been inoculated with at least two shots.