Thailand kicks up long-awaited COVID vaccination drive amid worst outbreak

BANGKOK: Thailand has commenced a mass Covid-19 inoculation program targeting to 6 million shots in June amid efforts to stem its worst coronavirus outbreak since the onset of the pandemic last month.

According to report, 986 vaccination sites nationwide opened, from June7,  as the country strives to vaccinate about 70 percent of its nearly 70 million population by the end of the year to build herd immunity. All eligible people would be vaccinated, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said when he visited a vaccination site here on Monday.

Some places outside hospitals and health institutes are designated as vaccination sites to speed up the inoculation process in Bangkok, the epicentre of the latest wave of outbreaks. Outside Bangkok, some shopping centres and sports facilities have also been designated as vaccination venues for local residents.

Within the first two hours on the first day of the roll-out, 143,000 people have been vaccinated, which is "a very good start for the country to achieve its goals", Natapanu Nopakun, an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a briefing of the Centre for the Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA). As of Sunday, Thailand has administered 4.2 million doses of vaccines, Natapanu said.

A total of 2,419 new cases and 33 fatalities were reported Monday, increasing the overall infection tally and death toll to 182,548 and 1,297, respectively.

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