Relax, I’m a nurse, says Thai soldier who showed off his Pfizer jab

A file photo of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, at left, and a hospital cue slip posted Sunday by Sgt. Noppadon Maneechan.
A file photo of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, at left, and a hospital cue slip posted Sunday by Sgt. Noppadon Maneechan.

A military man fired back this morning at those questioning how he came by a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, saying he was a nurse who deserved the much-sought vaccine. 

Noppadon Maneechan, a sergeant in Loei province, responded to outrage that the military was given preferential treatment to say that he works on the pandemic front  and therefore deserved to receive a dose of high-grade vaccines recently donated by the United States. 

“I’d like to clarify to people on social media that I … work at the Khai Si Song Rak Hospital, and I’m prone to risk of COVID as I’m in contact with COVID patients,” Noppadon wrote. “I had asked my sister to reserve a Moderna vaccine appointment for October but it will take too long…”

Noppadon’s social media humblebrag on Sunday, in which he posted about getting his first dose of Pfizer infuriated those who have suspected the army would divert vaccines to its ranks rather than put the people first.

“Dear Moderna, I can’t wait for you any longer,” he wrote. “Today I turned to Pfizer instead.”

That drew questions about how he came by the vaccine, given that the army had secretly sought to secure mRNA vaccines through back-door channels, and some mathematical shortcomings on where the government said the vaccines were going.

#WhereHavePfizerVaccinesGone? was trending again on Thai Twitter this morning. 

Noppadon’s duties as a nurse at the Loei City hospital dulled some of the criticism, leading an online forum for crowd-sourced investigations, CSI LA, to delete an earlier post asking netizens to find out who Noppadon was and “condemn” him. 

Loei health official Preeda Woraharn confirmed that Noppadon is a health worker who is eligible for Pfizer vaccine. 

After 1.5 million doses of U.S.-donated Pfizer vaccines arrived late last month, a group of activist medics and other groups questioned whether medical front-liners would receive half of them as promised.

Those doubts increased last week narrowed the eligibility only to health care workers who had already received two doses of Sinovac. Under heavy criticism, the authorities changed the criteria to include those with either two doses of Sinovac or Sinopharm, while medics with only a single dose of any vaccine could opt for Pfizer as their second dose.


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