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Pattaya Starts Self-Funded Sinopharm Jabs Aug. 30

Sinopharm Covid-19 Vaccine

Pattaya plans to begin vaccinating 30,000 residents against Covid-19 with a Chinese-made vaccine the city bought because the central government wouldn’t send enough doses.

Pattaya Hospital will begin administering the first 30,000 of 100,000 Sinopharm doses Aug. 30-31. Mayor Sonthaya Kunplome said the hospital normally can vaccinate 2,000 people a day.

He did not disclose whether a larger effort, perhaps at the Eastern National Inddoor Sports Stadium, would be made to inoculate the 30,000 who registered more quickly.

Pattaya spent 88 million baht of its own budget to buy the BBIBP-CorV doses made by state-run China National Pharmaceutical Group from importer Chulabhorn Royal Academy after the central government failed to supply the city with the 950,000 vaccine doses it needed to reopen by Sept. 1.

That reopening date has now been postponed indefinitely, due to the area’s raging Covid-19 outbreak, but business leaders hope it will be possible by October.

The city certainly received good news Tuesday when the Chonburi reported 816 new coronavirus cases with 148 of them found in Banglamung District, which includes Pattaya. It was first time daily cases have totaled less than 1,000 in weeks.

Mayor Sonthaya Kunplome said the goal is to reopen the city in time for the Russian tourism season. Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration last week added Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine to its list of vaccines approved for international tourists with an eye toward attracting Russians to Phuket’s “sandbox” now and, later, to Pattaya.

In 2019, Pattaya drew 9.4 million domestic and international tourists, with 1.1 million of them coming from Russia, second only to the 2.7 million Chinese.

The original version of this story appears in the Pattaya Mail, a Bangkok Herald partner.