Top provincial officials in Phuket met on Friday and finalized the details of the province’s vaccination plan, which has been viewed by both the government and the private sector as crucial to the island’s ability to welcome tourists again in the near future.
Newly appointed Chief of the Phuket Provincial Public Health Office Dr. Kusak Kukiattikoon led the press conference, announcing to the press the details of the vaccination plan. He was joined by Vachira Phuket Hospital Director Dr. Chalermpong Sukontaphon and Patong Hospital Director Dr. Muenphae Boonlom.
Dr. Kusak started by providing updates on the first phase of vaccination plan using the 4,000 doses that were allocated to the province in the first batch of 200,000 doses delivered by Sinovac two weeks ago.
He said that 1,581 medical personnel were vaccinated together with 419 staff at disease control points. The latter group are continually at high risk of exposure to COVID-19 due to their work. These two groups had already received their first dose.
By April, Dr. Kusak said, the province will be receiving a second batch of 16,000 doses when Sinovac delivers the second shipment in April. 3,500 of the 8,000 recipients of this second batch are people with underlying congenital diseases.
The remaining 4,500 recipients are staff employed by Alternative Local Quarantine sites that monitor and serve foreign arrivals and expatriates that came to Phuket from abroad.
Dr. Kusak then laid out the statistics regarding the remaining people in Phuket that need to be vaccinated in the succeeding phases of the government’s immunization program.
According to the new Phuket health chief, there are a total of 417,402 individuals registered with a residence in the Phuket. These are distributed amongst the three districts: Kathu (66,576 people), Thalang (99,840 people) and Muang (250,986 people).
The total figure will be deducted by 106,865. These are the residents of Phuket that are teenagers, or are below 18 years old. This means that only 310,537 people need to receive inoculations in order to achieve herd immunity.
In addition, 94,100 people are employed in the province’s tourism sector, which Dr. Kusak stressed must be vaccinated fully against the COVID-19 if they are to welcome foreign tourists again this year.
For other business sectors, 70% of their workforce – which equals to 5,250 people – will receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Phuket is also home to 80,000 foreign expatriates or employees. Similar to workers in industries outside of tourism, 70% of the foreigners in Phuket will receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
When the third batch of Sinovac vaccines arrive in May, 20,000 doses will be allocated for service industry laborers. 4,000 doses will be administered to people with underlying conditions as well as to members of the general public.
Phuket will administer 95,152 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines to people aging 60 years and above, and those of the general public, in June. 83,900 employees in the hospitality and tourism industries will also receive their jabs in the same month, using a total of 167,800 doses.
By July, an additional 18,000 hospitality and tourism employees will be vaccinated against the COVID-19.
Dr. Kusak said that this strategic rollout is designed to achieve the goals of the #PhuketFirstOctober campaign aiming to reopen the province by October.