Thai authorities have vowed to prosecute people who disguised themselves as motorbike taxi drivers to jump the queue for the coronavirus vaccine.
Land Transport Department director Jirut Wisanjit said today that he has ordered his team to investigate and prosecute a group of Thai nationals who donned the signature orange win motosai jacket on Sunday in an attempt to get vaccinated on the spot. Motorbike taxi drivers are currently eligible for walk-in vaccines as they are considered a high-risk group.
The group was stopped at the Bang Sue Grand Station vaccination center and turned away after officers on the ground discovered that they were not public transport workers, Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said earlier today.
It’s speculated that these hi-so (slang for “wealthy people” in Thai) people might have rented the vests from motorbike taxi riders so that they could get vaccines. Such an incident occurred previously, with Khlong Toei residents selling their vaccine coupons to foreigners for up to THB3,000.
Anutin said people should refrain from such action and assured the public that there will be enough vaccines for everyone.
“I’ve repeatedly said that there should not be selling and buying of vaccines … There are enough vaccines for every Thai and they shouldn’t have to buy one from other people,” he said.
Since late May, transportation workers, including bus, taxi and motorbike taxi drivers, have been eligible for vaccine jabs at the new Bang Sue Grand Station in northern Bangkok. About 5,000 people were initially expected to be vaccinated per day, with signups posted online.
Thailand on Wednesday reported 2,680 new COVID-19 infections and 35 deaths, bringing the total tally to 185,228 cases and 1,332 fatalities since the pandemic began.
Only 2% of the population – 1.39 million people – are fully vaccinated while 4.63 million people have received at least the first dose of the vaccine.
This article, Hi-So No-No: Thai officials vow action against vaccine-hunters disguised as motosai drivers, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia’s leading alternative media company.