Speaking during the no confidence debate in parliament, the self-selected Prime Minister Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha seemed to lose his marbles. Responding to an MP from the opposition Move Forward Party “who … questioned the government’s delivery of the [virus] vaccine,” Gen Prayuth seemed to forget that he leads the government when he “warned critics of the government’s vaccination programme that they would be held responsible if their comments affected the delivery of Covid-19 vaccines.”
He babbled: “I am concerned that comments on the vaccines will cause problems. I don’t want it to be politicised. You have to be careful. If we cannot get what has been agreed upon because of this, you must accept responsibility.”
How can the opposition, with no control of anything associated with the state be responsible for delays? Of course, it is nonsense. It is the regime that is responsible.
The regime has been slow to get vaccines, with dozens and dozens of countries in the world already beginning vaccination. Some of the slower places are beginning within a few days. Japan has just begun and this slowness has been criticized. The regime is trying to save face by seemingly getting a special deal from China, using the almost defunct Thai Airways to run yet another special flight to get a few thousand doses being supplied by China’s Sinovac Biotech Co. The flight will bring 200,000 doses. The Food and Drug Administration emergency approval of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine will see a meager 50,000 doses arrive in Thailand sometime in February. The program for vaccination was announced only a few days ago.
We can speculate and guess why this is: the regime wants most people to receive a vaccine with the king’s mark on it – the propaganda value will be immense.
This is why the Bangkok Post reports that the National Vaccine Institute director Nakorn Premsri had to display “a letter from the AstraZeneca company, issued on Monday, in an attempt to prove that Siam Bioscience has passed the evaluation process of AstraZeneca’s audit team.” It might have, but this provides no evidence of when the king’s company will be producing shots.