For a brief moment, Americans, Aussies, Austrians and Kiwis were offered access to COVID-19 vaccines by the Thai government – but blink, and you missed it.
The U.S. Embassy this morning joined other missions in finally offering a response to complaints they have done nothing to get shots into the arms of their citizens abroad under what appears to have been a hastily arranged arrangement.
People were given mere hours to register for a limited supply of AstraZeneca doses that seemed to quickly run out. Those not monitoring social media were unlikely to ever have a realistic chance of participating; the doses reserved for Americans ran out very quickly, according to the online registration form.
“The Thai Government has informed the U.S. Embassy that it is offering U.S. citizens in Thailand the opportunity to be vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine at 4 p.m. this Sunday,” the embassy said in a bulletin sent at about 8:30am this morning to Americans in Thailand.
For Australians, registration remained available as of noon Saturday for 1pm on Sunday, but Ambassador Allan McKinnon said registrations would be rejected after 10am.
📢 IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: Vaccinations available for Australian nationals in Thailand. Australians wishing to be vaccinated need to register using this online form [https://t.co/b6Vjw3UKhj] by 10am Saturday 17 July. (1) pic.twitter.com/9kNMeEc95N
— Allan McKinnon (@AusAmbBKK) July 16, 2021
Good news for Austrians in #Bangkok. The Austrian Embassy has just posted on Facebook to say that they’ve secured 100 doses of AstraZeneca. Please register today before 2pm. Appointments are at SCG HQ at 4pm. Good luck! #Thailand pic.twitter.com/aFUNCpq1hi
— Richard Barrow (@RichardBarrow) July 17, 2021
New Zealanders had until noon on Saturday to register via email.
The vaccinations will take place at 4pm on Sunday afternoon at SCG Headquarters in Bangkok’s northern Bang Sue district. Anyone who has not received a registration confirmation will be turned away.
Nothing’s really known yet on how the hastily arranged date came to be, nor whether additional appointments will be added.
U.S. Embassy representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But they didn’t seem to have many answers either, according to their announcement:
“This is a limited opportunity offered by the Thai Government. We do not know when/if similar opportunities will arise again in the future.”
And it is unlikely to satisfy critics who point to successful efforts by other governments to inoculate their citizens abroad.
French Ambassador Thierry Mathou noted in a bulletin this morning that his government had vaccinated “thousands” of French nationals over 55 with Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose Jannsen vaccine.
China reportedly made vaccines available to its citizens living in Thailand as well.
Thailand’s sluggish mass vaccination campaign has stalled out and is beset with supply issues amid a rapidly worsening outbreak.
Today saw record-high numbers of deaths — 141 — and infections, which crested 10,000 for the first time.
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