The government of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is playing the blame game over the process of receiving another million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to be donated to Thailand by the US government.
The blame game started after Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan, of the new Thai Sang Thai Party, visited Thailand-born Senator Tammy Duckworth in the United States on Wednesday.
According to Mr. Khunying, he and Senator Duckworth discussed Thailand-US cooperation in fighting the coronavirus pandemic. Senator Duckworth has played a key role in helping to arrange the US government’s donation of 2.5 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine for Thailand.
A total of 1,503,450 doses of Pfizer vaccine were delivered to Thailand on July 30, 2021.
The US embassy in Bangkok had previously confirmed the United States would provide an additional one million doses of Pfizer vaccine on top of the already delivered 1.5 million doses. Bringing the USA’s total donation to 2.5 million doses of Pfizer to help Thais fight the pandemic in the Kingdom.
Pfizer vaccine waiting for paperwork
Mr. Khunying said Senator Duckworth expressed concern over the delta variant situation in Thailand and that she was willing to push for the US state department to donate additional Pfizer doses.
He said US Senator Duckworth told him the US had informed the Prayut government in late July of its intention to donate 2.5 million Pfizer vaccine doses.
She said 1.5 million Pfizer vaccine doses had already been delivered, and there was an additional million doses waiting to be sent to Thailand.
“All I can tell you is that I’ve been pushing the Prayut government to get more vaccines … and have a million Pfizer doses waiting to go to Thailand.
“But because the Prayut government hasn’t finished the necessary paperwork … [I know I told the ambassador a month ago] that the paperwork needs to be completed. The Ambassador said OK, they’re going to work on it.”
The blame game begins
Senator Duckworth went on to say that according to her sources the Thai government had yet sent documents need to inform the US of its intention to accept the Pfizer vaccines. We can’t send the vaccine without the correct paperwork from the Thai Government.
In response to Senator Duckworth’s statements, Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul blamed the Foreign Affairs Ministry saying it’s responsible for processing protocol paperwork in relation to the matter.
Mr. Anutin said he heard the Foreign Affairs Ministry had not received any documents from the US Embassy, thus throwing the blame back on the US Embassy.
Meanwhile, Thailand’s Department of Disease Control director-general Dr. Opas Karnkawinpong has denied Thailand had given the US a lukewarm response to the prospect of a million additional Pfizer vaccine doses.
He said the process of accepting vaccines donated by foreign countries involves the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Public Health Ministry.
Dr. Opas said “Since the first Pfizer vaccine donation, the US Embassy still hasn’t notified the ministries that the US government had any additional Pfizer vaccine doses available.
“Therefore, the report that the Thai Government had failed to respond to the US Pfizer donation wasn’t true.”
The Bangkok Post contacted the US Embassy in Bangkok on Thursday for clarification, however, the embassy staff declined to comment on the matter and referred the Post US Senator Duckworths Office.
Source: Bangkok Post