On Tuesday (4 May), Thailand started a campaign to immunize 50,000 people in the crowded riverside district of Bangkok, the capital, as a country is attempting to contain a third wave of coronavirus infections. The agencies are aiming to vaccinate approximately 70 percent people in Khlong Toei, a zone where approximately 80,000 people live, after the most recent outbreak in early April infected over 300 people.
Inoculation is expected to last for around two weeks, as well as to test up to 1000 individuals per day, says Mr. Aswin Kwanmuang, governor of the Metropolis of Bangkok.
Recently Thailand has been facing a peak in cases of highly transmissible B117 variants which account for over half of its total cases and deaths, which have mostly brought the virus to control for around a year.
One third of the new cases have been from April in Bangkok and health agencies focus on the capital and three surrounding provinces, which are already largely controlled in the remainder of Thailand’s 77 provinces.
“The provinces are able to control the outbreak and new cases are decreasing, leaving only Bangkok and three surrounding provinces that are still seeing a slow uptick in infections,” Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of the Disease Control Department, told a news conference.
In the seven other populated Bangkok communities, authorities will ramp up tests to contain clusters in addition to Khlong Toei. In a Samut Prakan factory on the outskirts of Bangkok, where 160 people were infected, a new cluster was detected.
Thailand reported 1763 new cases of coronavirus and 27 deaths on Tuesday, resulting in 72 788 cases and 303 deaths since the pandemic started.The vaccination drive of Bangkok has taken place in June before the national inoculation, when the first set of 61 million AstraZeneca-produced doses is available.
By the end of the year, Thailand wants to have 70% of the population vaccinated, although the deployment rate has been slower than certain neighboring countries.