(Bloomberg) -- Thailand plans to inoculate the majority of the adult population in Bangkok in the coming months to quell a flareup in virus infections that’s made the capital city the epicenter of the nation’s biggest Covid-19 outbreak.
More than 7 million residents will be able to get their shots at hospitals, malls, gymnasiums and mobile vaccine units, according to Sophon Mekthon, vice minister of public health. With only about 5% of Bangkok’s adult population currently vaccinated, the goal is to reach 70% as soon as possible, he said.
Thai authorities are adding all Bangkok residents to the priority groups, which include senior citizens, as the city accounts for the bulk of the nation’s new cases and as more vaccines become available. The Southeast Asian nation, which was largely successful in containing the pandemic for much of last year, has been hit by a third wave of infections that started in Bangkok’s night entertainment venues.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration this week extended a ban on large gatherings, dining in at restaurants and a shutdown of pubs, bars and other entertainment venues as it battles new virus clusters in its crowded slums. The city administration has also enlisted the support of the private sector in its vaccination drive.
By quickly administering first doses to as many residents as possible, the country could reduce deaths, severity of the illnesses and transmission, Sophon said, adding that the new plan will help economic recovery. Thailand has so far administered 1.9 million doses to its health-care and front-line workers, residents in high-risk areas for infections, and those in Phuket, which will reopen for vaccinated tourists in July.
Thailand reported the highest single-day increase in fatalities on Wednesday, and has added 2,000 new daily cases on average over the past week, with total case count now reaching more than 88,907, official data show.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.