FAQs: COVID19 vaccine for foreingers in Thailand

Right now, COVID19 vaccine is licensed and available in Thailand, unfortunately the supply of vaccines is very limited. Foreigners still cannot get the vaccine in Thailand and we did received many questions and requests for foreingers especially expatriates in Thailand on how and where to get the vaccine. So we will try to answer these questions in this blog post. Please be informed that the government’s policy, as well as vaccine plan and supply can be changed overtime. 

Let’s start: 

1. Which COVID19 vaccines are licensed and available in Thailand?

Our FDA licensed three COVID19 vaccines i.e. vaccine from AztraZeneca/Oxford, the Sinovac from China and from Johnsons and Johnsons.  However, only two vaccines (AztraZenaca and Sinovac) are available right now.  

2. These COVID19 vaccines belong to whom? Who imported the vaccines?

Royal Thai Government imports all vaccines and plans to distribute to all Thais.  They have a clear plan to secure and distribute the vaccines, started from February 2021, right now (9 May) approximately 1.7 million Thais received vaccines. A big lot of vaccine is coming, and by the end of this year, our government expects to receive 60 million doses of vaccine for our population.  

3. What is the target population of this vaccine? 

The priority groups are the healthcare personels, people in outbreak area and elderly and those with medical conditions. The next phase will distribute to general population starting from July 2021.   

4.  Is it true that COVID19 vaccine is free for Thai citizen?  and How about foreingers? 

Yes, the government provides vaccine for Thai citizen free of charge. Anyway, since the availability of vaccine is still very limited, our government still cannot provide vaccines to all. So for foreingers, although this group is in the distribution plan, they still need to wait, at least for now. And there is no tentative date/time on when foreigners can get the vaccine in Thailand.   

5.  What about private hospitals/clinics in Thailand? Can they buy vaccine and provide to foreingers in Thailand? 

Theoretically, yes. Private hospitals can buy licensed COVID19 vaccine and distribute in private sector. Unforutnately, as you know, now all countries, all government want to buy vaccines in big lots (10+ millions doeses).  The demand is huge.  So as you can imagine, big pharmaceutically companys are much more willing to sell millions doses of vaccines to the goverment than 10K or 100K or even 200K doses to private sector. This is one reason why, even private hospitals are willing to pay, to get the vaccine is still not easy. 

Apart from that, the rule, regulation and liability of new vaccine are another key factors. In fact, before new vaccine is licensed, it has to pass many processes and take long times (2-5 years) to ensure its safety and efficacy. But we have not much time in COVID19 pandemic. So FDA in many countries has to license and approve the use of new COVID19 vaccine urgently and with some conditions such as for public health authorities use only, or for emergency use only, etc. That means this COVID19 vaccine is not for general use right now, so this is another reasons why private hospitals in many countries are not allowed to buy and provide vaccines to their patients.   

6.   I’m an expat living in Thailand, so how I can get the COVID19 vaccine?  

Unfortunately, right now there is no easy way to get the vaccine if you are non-Thais. Ones may prefer to wait and see, and that’s ok. We believe that in the future, you can get this vaccine in Thailand. And recently the Ministry of Public Heatlh stated that they have a plan to give vaccine to all residents who living in Thailand as well. Unfortunately, no one can predict when. Our guess would be around July 2021. By the way, there is another way  if you do not want to wait, you can choose to fly back to your home country to get the vaccine and fly back to Thailand. We do see many expats choose this way.

Likewise, we did see some Thais living abroad, choose to fly back to Thailand to get vaccine here, because they are not eligible to get the vaccine abroad. And that’s understanable.  Hopefully, when the global supply of vaccine is not tight, everyone can easily access to COVID19 vaccine.  

7.   Does Thai Travel Clinic plan to provide COVID19 vaccines for foreingers?

Absolutely,  our goals is to provide best medical care to Thais and foreigners. And we believe that vaccine is the key to control the outbreak. So we try very hard to buy COVID19 vaccine for foreingers in our hospital. Unfortunately, at this point, we cannot buy and stock our own COVID19 vaccine. Hopefully, in the near future, we will be able to buy and provide COVID19 vaccine to foreigners as well. 

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