The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) is scheduled to meet Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul next week about a Covid-19 vaccine rollout plan to help factory workers as the rising number of infections is causing some plants to shut down.
So far, 10% of 10 million workers in the industrial sector have received a vaccine under Section 33 of the Social Security Act, said Supant Mongkolsuthree, chairman of FTI.
“We are concerned infections will further affect operations, causing more factories to shut down which will eventually affect production for the export market,” he said.
The FTI wants the government to clarify how it is arranging vaccines for the industry under Section 33.
Next week, the federation will start administering 300,000 doses of Chinese-made Sinopharm to workers.
The FTI will also send 50,000 rapid antigen test kits to companies that are FTI members to help them screen and take infected workers from factories for treatment.
“We are negotiating with a foreign company which makes rapid antigen test kits in order to import them,” Mr Supant said, adding the Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) will be asked to buy rapid antigen test kits at a price under 200 baht each.
Mr Supant said the FTI wants the government to speed up the import of more rapid antigen test kits as infected people need to be isolated to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
“The government has already given a green light to sales of rapid antigen test kits over the counter. It now needs to step up the buying process,” Mr Supant said. “We believe the GPO can negotiate better than the FTI to procure rapid antigen test kits. It can even import at prices below 100 baht each.”