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Thai officials say expats living in Thailand will be included in the government’s mass vaccination plan against Covid-19, but the exact timing is still pending. With foreign embassies in Thailand making it clear that they will not help provide vaccines to citizens living abroad, expats are counting on the Thai government.
A number of Americans are now urging the US government to provide Covid-19 vaccines to citizens living in Thailand. And with the recent outbreak linked to the most contagious variant of the virus, getting vaccinated in Thailand has become more urgent.
A “Covid-19 Vaccine Task Force” made up of Democratic members overseas in Thailand, as well as US organizations based in Thailand, calls on the US government to provide vaccines to citizens living in Thailand, chairman of Democrats Abroad Thailand and United Nations consultant, Paul Risley, told VOA.
“Americans who live overseas need to be vaccinated for the same reasons Americans who live in the United States need to be vaccinated… Because that’s the only way to stop Covid-19.”
If an American were to return to the United States to be vaccinated, they would still have to stay in a certified hotel or facility for a 14-day quarantine at their own expense when returning to Thailand. In addition to gathering the required documents, they would have to pass numerous Covid-19 tests, including pre-flight, on arrival and before being released from quarantine. Flights to and from the United States can take more than 20 hours per trip and add up to thousands of dollars in travel costs.
For the vast majority of Americans in Thailand, returning to the United States is the only way to get vaccinated at this time. The U.S. Embassy in Bangkok has said vaccines will not be provided to U.S. citizens living abroad.
The State Department does not provide direct medical care, including vaccinations, to private U.S. citizens abroad. We are committed to providing all possible consular assistance to U.S. citizens in need overseas, including providing information on local medical resources, where applicable. Please follow the developments and host country guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination.
At a recent meeting of the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that “all persons residing in Thailand, regardless of their nationality, are eligible to receive the vaccine under the of the government’s plan.
Mass vaccination campaigns are being rolled out in high-risk areas, such as the Khlong Toey slum in Bangkok where a cluster of infections has been reported, as well as Phuket and Koh Samui, tourist islands that are believed to have “Economic importance”. Health officials are trying to strike immunity from herds on the 2 islands to reopen to foreign tourists.
Expats in Phuket who have a valid work permit can now register for a state Covid-19 vaccine. Registration should be under the company name and expats should ask the company’s human resources staff to assist with the registration process.
Although no official announcement has been made regarding expats on Koh Samui, some foreigners who work as English teachers on the island say they received the two doses of the Chinese-made Sinovac vaccine. Schools apparently helped with the registration process, but some teachers say they were told not to get the shot. Some have not received a vaccination certificate or any other document confirming that they are vaccinated against the coronavirus.
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