After a series of last-minute announcements from a number of foreign embassies, more than a thousand American, Australian, Indian and New Zealand nationals lined up in Bangkok to be vaccinated last Sunday.
According to several Thai newspaper articles and I heard from some friends, the ex-pats queued for up to 4 hours to receive a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, in what has been described as a “one-off” event.
A number of (often older) ex-pats murmured, describing the event as poorly organized and chaotic, but nonetheless, it worked to give hundreds of people their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. According to some, no instructions were given and the wait was long, with seats constantly being rearranged in random order, which resulted in some latecomers being vaccinated for those who had been there longer.
There were signs with QR codes, with no instructions in English on how to use them, and reports of very few staff available to help. Despite this, Frans Kouwenberg, a 79-year-old Dutchman who is celebrating his birthday in Pattaya today, was in a forgiving mood and just thankful that he got the vaccine.
“Overall, I’m ecstatic about getting the vaccine. While the process was a little confusing, most were excited and maybe a little anxious to get this special opportunity.”
Registration for the event ran from Friday evening to Saturday afternoon, with a series of last-minute announcements from various embassies on social media. Places were limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis, with reports that some embassies were not notified of their vaccine allocation until after they closed their businesses on Friday night.
Obviously, there are no plans to repeat the event, but walk-in registration for foreign residents over 75 began yesterday at Bang Sue Grand Station in Bangkok. In addition, told Mr Tanee Sangrat of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that an online platform will be launched at the end of this month where foreigners can register for vaccination.
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