A massive 79.47% of the Thai public want to see their local authorities handle the distribution of vaccines as significant majorities have no confidence in the government and believe that the vaccination campaign is being influenced by politics.
Thai authorities, over the weekend, rejected a Taiwanese suggestion that it was prioritising the delivery of vaccines for the kingdom’s own vaccination campaign as polls suggested the public has little faith in the government’s handling of the efforts.
A government spokesperson has denied a claim made on Friday by the President of Taiwan that Thailand was holding back vaccine supplies to the island state which has recently suffered its first serious outbreak of Covid-19.
Heretofore, Taiwan was recognised worldwide as the country that had best handled the pandemic with no lockdown until recently and very low levels of infection. It was the first state and government to recognise the virus that emerged from China in early 2020.
The country’s 18 month run of successfully preventing the vaccine from taking hold was brought to an end by employees working with China Airlines and Novotel contracting the British B117 variants. It then spread rapidly when it reached adult entertainment venues in the Wanhua district of Taipei just as the third wave emerged in Thailand in Bangkok’s Thong Lor district.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen made the claim on Friday as that country confronts a serious outbreak
On Friday, President Tsai Ing-wen confirmed that Taiwan was awaiting 10 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine being manufactured in Thailand but that the problem was the kingdom was ‘giving priority for vaccines to be used in Thailand’.
Earlier in the week, in both Malaysia and the Philippines, officials signalled hold-ups in the delivery of the AstraZeneca vaccine from Thailand and suggested the issue was production problems at the Siam Bioscience plant in Pathum Thani.
On Saturday, Trisulee Traisanakul, deputy government spokesperson, took to social media site Twitter to deny the Taiwanese claim.
‘Thailand is not blocking exports of AstraZeneca,’ she said. ‘It is a matter for the producer to manage.’
AstraZeneca and Siam Bioscience not responding to press enquiries on Southeast Asian delivery delays
Both AstraZeneca and Siam Bioscience could not be contacted over the weekend for a comment on the news from Taiwan or throughout last week over reports driven by comments from senior officials in both Malaysia and the Philippines.
The Siam Bioscience plant in Thailand is tasked with producing 200 million doses of the Oxford University developed vaccine for distribution throughout Southeast Asia.
It comes as the government is being warned by industry leaders and economic analysts that it must keep to its target of at least 400,000 doses per day for the vaccination campaign which kicked off on an industrial scale on June 7th.
Majority of public lacks confidence in government’s ability to carry out the vaccination campaign
A National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA) opinion poll, published in the Bangkok Post on Sunday, showed a decisive majority of respondents drawn from a cross-section of adults in Thailand, saying they were not confident of the government’s ability to deliver the required number of administered vaccines in June.
61.23% indicated they were not confident with 39.22% saying they had little confidence in the government’s ability while 22.01% had no confidence at all.
On the other hand, 14.78% were highly confident with 22.70%, in total, having some faith in authorities.
The remainder of the respondents had no idea or were simply not interested.
Public want vaccines handled by local authorities
The same poll also showed 61.84% of the Thai public believed that the process of allocating and distributing vaccines was being politicised with 28.1% believing that this was quite a decisive factor.
The poll showed an overwhelming majority of the public, 79.47% of those asked, would prefer to see the distribution of vaccines handled by local authorities throughout the kingdom by devolving to them the power to purchase vaccines from government agencies.
They believed that this approach would be more effective.