In Thai, there is an oft-used phrase: tok ma tai, “to die after falling off a horse.” It is an idiom that describes how someone can do something well almost to completion, only to make a mess of things just before reaching the finish line. 

For many, this is an idiom that increasingly looks fitting for the Thai government’s pandemic response. The first wave of infections was quickly vanquished, and declining numbers show that the second wave has come under control. 

Thailand’s vaccine strategy, on the other hand, continues to spark bafflement and criticism. The government has decided to purchase a small number of Sinovac vaccines, due to arrive today, while depending largely on locally-manufactured AstraZeneca vaccines, with the goal of vaccinating around 60% of the adult population by 2021.

The weaknesses here are obvious: procurement and projected delivery is undeniably slow, lagging behind many neighbors, and the vaccine supply is barely diversified. Private hospitals have yet to be given permission to independently conduct vaccinations. And it is unclear whether the government has secured enough doses to generate herd immunity.

Click here for the full piece at Thai Enquirer.

(Cover image credits.)

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