Thailand continued its mass vaccination rollout today (June 8) amid hopes of a tourism revival.
Footage shows hundreds of locals queuing for their AstraZeneca jabs at the Siam Paragon shopping mall in the capital Bangkok.
Officials said that 306,580 first shots had been administered on Monday with a similar number expected today. They hope that the first round of jabs will be administered by the end of September.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said it was a ‘historic day’ as the country ‘fought back’ at Covid-19.
He said the government would receive 100 million doses to give to around 70 per cent of the population, or 50 million people, by the end of 2021.
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.