A mass vaccination drive started in Thailand today (June 7) to control the third wave of Covid-19 cases and boost hopes of a tourism revival.
Footage shows hundreds of locals queuing for their AstraZeneca jabs at the Central Pattana shopping mall in the capital Bangkok.
The country’s Public Health Ministry said the vaccine rollout would prioritise the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.
Officials last week received 1.8 million doses of AstraZeneca before distributing them to vaccination centres across the county. Thailand recorded 2,419 new Covid-19 cases today (June 7) and 33 deaths, taking the total number of infections to 179,886 with 1,269 dead.
Business and tourism chiefs hope the vaccine rollout – combined with ‘sandbox’ schemes allowing tourists to enter the country – will revive the economy.
Economists fear that it could be up to five years before the country’s tourism industry returns to pre-pandemic levels.
Two years ago tourism made up an estimated 21 per cent of Thailand’s GDP, generating 1.8 trillion baht in revenue. However, the country’s National Economic and Social Development Council predicted that it could be another five years before similar numbers are seen.
Analysts said that between now and 2026, around seven million workers will continue to be affected by the economic harm from the Covid-19 pandemic.