Thailand’s COVID-19 vaccination program and health insurance coverage
The national vaccination rollout for approximately 67 million Thais and 3 million expats is underway with millions already registered to receive their first jab within the next few weeks and months. The Thai government aims to vaccinate 70% of the population (50 million people) by the end of 2021.
The mass vaccination campaign which began on June 7, 2021, has already made headlines as the country pushes to suppress the latest (third) wave of COVID-19 infections. Up to 1,000 vaccination centers have been set up across several provinces including Bangkok, which is the epicenter of the current wave. Both the public and private healthcare systems are heavily involved as health officials receive supplies of Sinovac and AstraZeneca to vaccinate those that have registered for their first jab.
As Thailand moves forward with its largest-ever inoculation program, this article by Pacific Prime Thailand explains what the vaccination program is, how expats can register for a vaccine, and includes several frequently asked questions from existing and prospective clients.
Thailand’s COVID-19 vaccination program
Thailand’s official vaccination program marks an important milestone for the country to bring new cases and deaths down and establish herd immunity in 2021. Currently, the government has announced for people (locals and expats) over the age of 60 with underlying health conditions/diseases to register and await their scheduled date to receive their first dose.
Underlying conditions include:
- Severe Chronic Respiratory Diseases (CRDs)
- Coronary artery disease (CAD)
- Chronic kidney disease (CKD) (5th stage)
- Cancer patients receiving chemotherapy
- Obesity (weight > 100 kg or BMI > 35 kg/m²)
Before the official vaccination launch on June 7, the government’s Public Health Ministry had created an app – Mor Prom – for local Thai residents to register through. However, eligible expat individuals were advised to contact their local registered hospital to be put on the list.
How to register for the COVID-19 vaccination program in Thailand
Following on from the trial of the Mor Prom scheme, the Thai government created a separate registration process for those living in the capital as cases significantly rose in this region of the country. Below are the current and ongoing channels for local Thais and expats to register for their COVID-19 vaccine jab.
COVID-19 vaccine registration for local Thai residents in Bangkok
Local Thais, between the ages of 18 – 59, must register through the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration’s (BMA) two main channels: “Thai Ruam Jai” and the Pao Tang wallet application.
Information such as the date, time, and location for the vaccination will be announced once registration is complete.
COVID-19 vaccine registration for expats and their family members (except children)
Following the start of the national vaccination program, the Public Health Ministry went on to launch its updated version of the Thaiintervac website, where 60+ years old, and expats living with any underlying diseases could register to receive their first jab. However, registration through this website has now closed as the Department of Disease Control (DDC) has introduced a new vaccine appointment system for foreigners in Thailand.
New vaccine appointment system for foreigners in Thailand
Thailand’s DDC has announced a new vaccine appointment system for foreigners in Thailand through their existing “ThailandIntervac” website. The new phase is for foreigners aged 60 or above and those with any of the previously mentioned underlying diseases. Other age groups will likely follow in the coming weeks and months.
Available vaccines for expats in Thailand via the new system
Currently, the AstraZeneca and Sinovac vaccines are available for foreigners and expats in Thailand.
Hospitals participating in the new system to vaccinate foreigners in Thailand
Two designated hospitals in Bangkok will be welcoming foreigners to register for their vaccination:
- Phyathai 2 Hospital
- Samitivej Sukhumvit Hospital
Phyathai 2 Hospital
According to Phyathai 2 Hospital’s website, the registration will be in the Google Form Format and the link of the Google Form will go live from July 12th until July 16th, 2021. The window for registration will be from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm.
Once foreigners have successfully registered, Phyathai 2 Hospital will send an SMS confirmation to the number provided on the form within 24 hours of registration.
Note: once a date has been chosen it cannot be changed, and you may have to register again to choose a different date. Additionally, you cannot transfer your right to the vaccine to another person. The vaccination period will be from July 19th until July 30th, 2021 (except weekends).
According to the hospital, the vaccine provided will be AstraZeneca only and is free of charge to foreigners that have registered.
Samitivej Sukhumvit Hospital
At the point of writing, Samitivej Sukhumvit Hospital is currently fully booked for July 2021, and foreigners (and expats) wishing to register should contact the hospital and wait for the next pre-registration announcement in August 2021.
Expats and foreigners in Phuket and Chiang Mai
For expats living in other major cities and provinces like Phuket and Chiang Mai, see the links below:
Further reading: Coronavirus vaccine in Thailand: What you should know
Upcoming vaccine developments and news in Thailand
For those who have received their first jab, there is confirmation that Thailand will receive other vaccines to boost availability in the near future. These include Sinopharm, Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson amongst others. These will help increase the choice of vaccines available for people to receive a booster later in the year or at the beginning of 2022.
The ‘Phuket Sandbox’ scheme
In other news, Thailand has gone ahead with its pilot scheme to reopen to vaccinated foreign visitors and expats from other countries. The government’s economic task force successfully approved the scheme to help revive the country’s battered tourism industry. Phuket, a province in Thailand, is progressing well to inoculate 70% of its local population before July 1st, 2021. The island of Phuket has eased many restrictions in recent weeks, with few daily local infections recorded.
Further reading: A guide to Phuket’s “Sandbox” scheme: All you need to know
No requirements to quarantine if fully vaccinated
There will be no quarantine for foreign visitors under the Phuket “Sandbox” scheme to attract interest from abroad as their two-week confinement to the island will be sufficient. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is heavily involved in reviewing the scheme and hopes the extensive steps it and officials in Phuket are taking will help improve Phuket’s reputation and emphasize safety in the build-up to the high season.
Note: Travelers are advised to secure health insurance and/or travel insurance before planning a trip to Phuket. Contact a reputable broker like Pacific Prime Thailand for insurance plans that meet your needs and budget.
Further reading: Thailand’s COVID-19 entry requirements
5 FAQs for expats planning to get vaccinated in Thailand
At Pacific Prime Thailand, our advisors have been inundated with various questions from clients in Thailand and prospective clients that are concerned about their registration for the COVID-19 vaccine and existing health insurance cover. Below are a few top trending questions our advisors get asked daily.
1. Is the COVID-19 vaccine available to expats?
Yes. If you are living and working in Thailand, you will be able to sign up for free inoculations in person at designated hospitals using your social security number and/or passport details. Head to the Thaiintervac website and register for a slot.
2. Is the vaccine available from private facilities/hospitals?
Yes, but only for the two hospitals mentioned above. This is subject to change, which is why you are encouraged to stay updated on the situation.
3. Would my health insurance plan cover COVID-19 vaccine complications (e.g. allergic reaction)?
Yes, in most cases you would be covered under your standard inpatient or outpatient benefits, as agreed in the policy secured. However, it is your responsibility to always remember to check your terms and conditions, as well as refer to the policy FAQs.
4. Would my insurance plan cover privately administered COVID-19 vaccines? If so, when can I get it?
This depends on your insurer in Thailand. Generally, in most countries, residents can get the COVID-19 vaccine free of charge at government facilities, hence why insurers may not cover it. Since the Thai government is offering free inoculations to everyone, insurers may not cover for COVID-19 vaccination but may cover if it is medically necessary at the time. To get more clarity, you are encouraged to speak to your insurer or contact us to speak to an advisor at Pacific Prime Thailand for further details.
5. What can I do to protect myself from COVID-19?
Pacific Prime Thailand advises everyone to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Additionally, you are advised to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Clean your hands well before you do or get a clean tissue to wipe over the area concerned. Given the latest wave, you are encouraged to remain at home, if possible, and avoid close contact with sick people. If you do need to go out, wear a suitable protective face mask and avoid visiting crowded places. See the World Health Organization’s advice for the public for more information and guidance.
- Vaccinations for Thailand: An up-to-date list of all essential inoculations
- Health insurance brokers vs agents vs health insurers in Thailand
- How much do COVID-19 tests cost for expats in Thailand?
- Why children should have health insurance cover in Thailand
- 5 top tips on how to find the best health insurance in Thailand
Get help and support from Pacific Prime Thailand
At Pacific Prime Thailand, our team of advisors continues to monitor the current COVID-19 situation and are on hand to provide impartial advice across different health insurance plans from reputable local and global insurers.
With over 20 years of providing excellence in this sector, our experts can help simplify the process of searching for a suitable plan, as well as tailoring the plan to suit your exact needs and budget.
His expert view and wealth of knowledge on insurance can also be found in his blogs for China, Dubai, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
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