From October 24th, the booster shots for those who have been vaccinated twice with CoronaVac vaccine will start.
Residents of Thailand who have been vaccinated twice with Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine will be eligible for the booster vaccination from September 24th onwards. In addition, Pfizer vaccination of students will begin on October 4th.
The Thai government plans to distribute 24 million COVID-19 vaccines from now to the end of October in its national vaccination program.
For those who have completed 2 doses of Sinovac, about 500,000 doses are scheduled to be administered as the booster shot from September 24th.
Pfizer vaccines will be given 4.8 million doses from October 4th to children aged 12 to 17 years.
A total of 16.8 million doses are planned for adults over the age of 18, of which 800,000 are for social security insureds and 1.1 million are for government agencies and correctional facilities. It wiil prepare several brand of vaccines.
The supply of additional Moderna vaccine is scheduled to begin in October. Moderna vaccines will be available via the Thai Red Cross Society or at private hospitals as a paid alternative.
By end of 2020, the Thai government plans to inoculate 50 million people, which cover 70% of Thailand's population. It will be a total of 152.9 million COVID-19 vaccines.
Reduced import tax on alcoholic beverages and tobacco appealing to foreign Thai immigrants
Thai Customs will reduce import tax on alcoholic beverages and cigars by 50% over the next five years, in line with the Thai government's economic stimulus and investment promotion packages. The purpose is to encourage wealthy foreigners and highly skilled foreign professionals to work in Thailand.
According to Thai Customs Director Patchara Anuntasilpa, a plan to revive the Thai economy after the end of the Covid-19 pandemic was resolved by the Cabinet on September 14, and the investment promotion package including this tax cut will be part of this plan.
Wealthy foreigners in the target group who are expected to take advantage of this investment promotion package are expected to spend an average of 1 million baht per person per year when they stay and work in Thailand. It is expected to attract wealthy foreigners to Thailand, attract more than 1 million people to Thailand over the next five years, and generate about 1 trillion baht during that period.
The benefits of the investment promotion package include the issuance of a 10-year Thai visa to package users and their spouses and children, the same income tax rate as Thai citizens, tax exemption on income earned abroad, and property and land ownership.
While import tax on tobacco will be reduced, a flat rate of 40% will be applied to tobacco sold in Thailand from October next month, regardless of retail price. The new higher tax rate is expected to help reduce smoking for teenagers and increase tax revenues in each province.
Summary of Thailand's reopening plan and vaccination status
Phuket reopened by Phuket Sandbox on July 1st and Koh Samui reopened on July 15th by Samui Plus.
Since then, five major tourist destinations in Thailand are planning to reopen in October one after another with the aim of revitalizing the devastated tourism industry.
The five provinces planning to reopen in October are Bangkok, Chon Buri (Pattaya City, Bang Lamung district, and Sattahip district), Phetchaburi (Cha-am district), Prachuap Khiri Khan (Hua Hin district) and Chiang Mai (Muang, Mae Taeng, Mae Rim and Doi Tao districts).
Appropriate guidelines must be set to ensure safety in order to resume, but regarding the guidelines, the Phuket Sandbox, which has already resumed on July 1 and has been in operation for more than 2 months, will be applied.
Currently, it is said that more than 70% of the residents have completed the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is the criterion for determining whether or not the area can reopen.
In this article, we have summarized the vaccination status and the status of resumption plans in the five provinces.
First, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Yuthasak Supasorn said that four of the five provinces, with the exception of Bangkok, are ready to reopen on October 1.
The four provinces are Chongburi, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, and Chiang Mai.
As for the vaccination status of Chonburi, 51% of the population has completed the first vaccination and 24% have completed the second vaccination.
Regarding the vaccination status of Phetchaburi, 47% of the population has completed the first vaccination and 27% have completed the second vaccination.
As for the vaccination status of Prachuap Khiri Khan, 40% of the population has completed the first vaccination and 26% have completed the second vaccination.
As for the vaccination status in Chiang Mai, 29% of the population has completed the first vaccination and 17% have completed the second vaccination.
Bangkok, which is said that it's not yet ready for reopening now, was originally scheduled to reopen on October 1, but after that, the scheduled reopening date was changed to October 15, and changed to October 22 again.
As for the vaccination status in Bangkok, 94% of the population has completed the first vaccination and 40% have completed the second vaccination, which is an overwhelmingly high vaccination rate compared to the four provinces.
The reason why October 22 was set as the reopen date is that it is the expected date when 70% of the residents are expected to complete the second vaccination.
Only Bangkok, which has an overwhelmingly high inoculation rate compared to other provinces, is forced to postpone the reopening date because it seems that Bangkok has a larger population and economic scale than other provinces and has a large impact when problems occur and more cautious about reopening is needed. It was also reported that the vaccination status in neighboring provinces around Bangkok has not progressed, so it is necessary to wait for the vaccination rate in those provinces to rise.
Bangkok Governor Atsawin Khwanmueang said Bangkok vaccination could be sped up and reopen on October 10 if the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of Thailand helped increase vaccine supply to Bangkok. He states that it is not impossible. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) and the Ministry of Public Health are in talks on this matter.
In most cases, foreign tourists first enter Thailand from Bangkok and then move to other provinces, so the reopening of Bangkok is the most important key to the revival of the tourism industry throughout Thailand.
Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has drafted a proposal to tentatively reopen five provinces to foreign tourists on October 1, and will propose the proposal to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration(CCSA) on September 23 for approval.
Looking across Thailand, the Department of Disease Control (DDC) aims to complete 50% of Thailand's population vaccination by the end of October. In September, they aim to inoculate 1 million times a day.
From February 28 to September 16, about 43.3 million vaccinations were carried out throughout Thailand, of which 28.4 million were the first and about 14.3 million were the second.
Opas Karnkawinpong, director of DDC, said that Thai people have already learned how to live with the COVID-19 because the coronavirus cannot be eliminated completely, and they already live following the public health guidelines such as wearing masks, washing hands, and social distance.
In near future, we must enter the new phase to live with COVID-19 correctly and safely as soon as possible. And to revive the damaged Thai economy and the devastated Thai tourism industry, we need to reopen Thailand as soon as possible.
Governor of Bangkok demands further acceleration of vaccination in Bangkok
According to previous reports, Bangkok is scheduled to reopen on October 15, and Chon Buri (Pattaya), Phetchaburi (Cha-am), Prachuap Khiri Khan (Hua Hin) and Chiang Mai (Mueang, Mae Rim, Mae Taeng and Doi Tao) are scheduled to reopen on October 1st. These proposals will be submitted at the next Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) meeting on September 24th.
On Wednesday, September 15, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) held a meeting between the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) and Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang. Immediately after this meeting, the Minister of Tourism and Sports Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn insisted on setting a reopening date for Bangkok on October 15.
Meanwhile, 70% of residents are expected to complete their second vaccination from October 22nd to 24th, and Governor Aswin Kwanmuang said that Bangkok should not be reopened until residents have completed 70% vaccination and have adequate herd immunity.
Governor Asawin Kwanmuang said that if the BMA could procure more vaccines with the support of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, it would be possible to achieve a 70% vaccination rate earlier than October 22nd.
According to Thanet Supornsahasrungsi, Deputy Chairman of the Chonburi Tourism Council, most foreign tourists enter to Thailand from Suvarnabhumi Airport, so reopening Bangkok will have a significant impact on Pattaya's tourism industry. Many Asian tourists usually visit Bangkok and neighboring provices together such as Bangkok and Pattay, so the reopening Bangkok will help tourism in other regions.
In September, there have been various reports about the reopening date of Bangkok, and the schedule has been shaken, but the goal of reopening Bangkok is clear if the vaccination rate of 70% can be achieved. Therefore, it seems that what should be done now is vaccination as soon as possible.
Submit your request for vaccination of children by September 24
The Thai Ministry of Education has ordered students to study online since the outbreak of the coronavirus began, but has tentatively set to reopen all schools on November 1.
Following this decision, the Thai government plans to provide Pfizer vaccine to students aged 12 to 17 years.
On Wednesday, September 15th, The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) disclosed a timeline for student vaccination, and they presented that September 24th is the final day of whether parents agree to vaccinate their children.
By September 24, parents of students should decide whether to vaccinate their children with the Pfizer vaccine before the Thai Ministry of Education reopens school.
All schools will send a list of students to be vaccinated to the provincial education office on September 25, and vaccination will begin on October 4. It targets 4.5 million students.
The Thai Ministry of Education will vaccinate all teachers before students return to class. According to the ministry, about 30% of teachers have not yet been vaccinated at this time.
Vaccination has traditionally prioritized the elderly, pregnant women and people with chronic illnesses, but the Thai government plans to expand the target group to students in very near future.
Currently, students living in Thailand are forced to take online classes at home and cannot even meet their friends. It is hoped that vaccination will progress and school will resume sooner.
Bangkok reopening is expected to be postponed, reopening will be changed to October 15
The reopening of Bangkok was scheduled for October 1st, but now the 2 doses vaccination rate for Bangkok residents is 37%, and it is expected that it will not reach 70% by endo of September. So it is expected that the opening date will be changed to October 15th from October 1st.
The Thai Ministry of Tourism has delayed the reopening schedule by two weeks, but they have promised to reopen Bangkok in order to bring back at least one million foreign tourists to Bangkok by the end of the year.
Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said that many foreign tourists visiting Thailand visit Bangkok as their first destination before moving to other provinces, and allowing Bangkok to enter without quarantine will be huge benefit to all over Thailand. Also, after staying in Bangkok for 7 days, tourists will be able to move to the designated other provices, and if they stay in that second province for another 7 days, they will be able to move to all over Thailand. It is very convenient for tourists because they can stay for 7 days without quarantine in Bangkok and after 7 days move to other designated provinces such as Pattaya.
The tourism and restaurant industries have been suffering devastating damage since the pandemic of the COVID-19. It's not certain yet, but it seems that the light of revival is finally coming to these industries. After reopening, Thai government need to consider a plan for a successful early recovery of those damaged industries.
Booster shots for people who have been vaccinated twice with Sinovac vaccine will start by October
According to Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, the administration of a third booster shot to people who have already been vaccinated with Sinovac vaccine twice will begin within a few weeks, although the actual timing depends on the disease control department.
Millions of people is waiting for AstraZeneca booster shots because the Chinese-made Sinobac vaccine is currently found to be quite ineffective against the delta variant, which is the majority strain of Covid-19 in Thailand. In Thailand, 500,000 healthcare workers and first responders have already been vaccinated with a third booster shot, with an additional 2 million expected soon.
Thailand recently revised its vaccination plan to make it a basic vaccination policy in Thailand, with a mixed vaccination of the first Sinovac and then the second AstraZeneca. Another plan is also underway to make administering AstraZeneca for the first vaccination and then Pfizer for second This plans might start after next month's.
Thailand plans to inoculate 10 million Pfizer vaccines each month starting next month, and the brand has already been registered with the Thai Food and Drug Administration for children. The Sinopharm manufacturer requires infants over the age of 3 to use the vaccine, but it has not yet been approved.
Anutin also strongly reiterates that he guarantees that 120 million vaccines from various brands will be available in Thailand by the end of the year.