Private sectors in Thailand are braving the economic downturn to rescue the country out of pandemic crisis. On April 20th, the Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC) convened a meeting with CEOs from over 40 companies to discuss Thailand’s possible way out of Coronavirus misery.
Following the third outbreak, the number of cases of COVID-19 in Thailand continues to rise, with increasing severe cases and deaths. Currently, worryingly less than 1% of the Thai population has been vaccinated. There is a country-wide shortage of hospital beds for infected persons, and many hospitals are left without the COVID test equipments.
TCC has raised concerns that the slow rate of inoculation and the government’s vaccine procurement process would damage the economy even further.
For instance, the plan for Phuket Sandbox model, focusing at opening a travel bubble on July 1 this year, for travellers who have been vaccinated seems to have been shook, despite the 100,000 doses being distributed. Phuket aims to inoculated 950,000 doses within June.
The CEOs under TCC’s leadership have agreed to embark on the “Connect the Dots” campaign with the goal to reopen the country and business-as-usual as soon as possible. One of the objectives includes the inoculation of at least 70% of Bangkokians and 100% of all medical professionals in Bangkok by the end of this year.
TCC’s Chairman Mr Sanan Angubolkul said that “Connect the Dots” implies the synergy in collaboration between the government and private sector in lifting the country out of the apparent crisis.
Connect the Dots task-force is divided into 4 teams to accelerate the vaccination rate of the country and mitigate heavy burden that the government is shouldering today.
Team A - Distribution and Logistics
Facilitate the distribution and logistics of vaccines in terms of venues, personnel, and other necessary equipments to increase accessibility and safety for those receiving the vaccines.
Responsible parties: Central Retail, SCG, BigC, Asiatique, Lotus’s, The Mall, True Digital Park, Siam Piwat
Team B - Communication
Help disseminate important announcement and information regarding the vaccines and vaccination, for example educating the public on the benefit of vaccines, and calling vaccination queues.
Responsible parties: Google, LINE, Facebook, VGI, Unilever
Team C - IT Operation
Support the IT system in terms of the registration and records, tracking and certification for vaccinated persons.
Responsible parties: IBM
Team D - Extra Vaccine Procurement
Help negotiate and procure extra vaccines (apart from Sinovac and AstraZeneca) together with the government through G2G negotiation and private hospitals
Thailand has so far received approximately 2 million doses of Sinovac, and 200,000 doses of AstraZeneca.
Sinovac currently is the main brand that is being distributed around the country. Only in June this year (2021), that 6 million doses of AstraZeneca will be delivered by SiamBioscience. 10 million doses each month are promised after that. By December, there will be a total of circa. 60 million doses. The Prime Minister said that 500,000 doses Sinovac would be donated within this month (April 2021), and 1 million more by May.
At the moment, the government-procured vaccines are distributed to the citizens for free.
Private sector together with the government is looking to procure more vaccines from several other brands, including Pfizer (US), Sinopharm (China PRC), Sputnik V (Russia), Covaxin (India), and Convidecia (China PRC).
TCC and its alliance, if nothing goes wrong, plans to inoculate 10 million doses for their employees by the end of this year to ease the government's burden.