Thailand has ordered millions of doses of Sinovac, which enjoys the dubious honor of being perhaps the most doubted vaccine brand in the world.
Its reputation has been butchered in the international press. It has yet to be approved by the World Health Organization. Many Thais make no secret of their fear and derision. Some loudly declare they refuse to take it. One Twitter user told me that it is equivalent to death: hyperbole, to be sure, but reflective of the general mood.
And this mood is now fueling a more generalized vaccine hesitancy — a desire to delay getting a vaccination even as Thailand’s mass vaccination campaign steps into high gear next month, in favor of waiting for an alternative choice later in the year.
It is a concerning phenomenon, and the effects already clear. A YouGov survey conducted between November and January showed that Thailand had, at 83%, one of the highest rates of vaccine acceptance in the world. Within a month, a Suan Dusit poll showed only 68% of respondents wanted to be vaccinated as soon as possible. While many factors play into this trend, Sinovac-phobia is certainly one of them.