Cow raffle to promote Covid-19 vaccination in Thailand

Bangkok, 21 (EFE).- A district in northern Thailand will raffle 24 cows until the end of the year among those who sign up for vaccination against Covid-19, which has galvanized the inoculation campaign slowed down in the area amid skepticism.

“The registration has increased from hundreds to thousands (daily) in the last two days and I hope that as many as possible will be registered to achieve herd immunity in the district,” Boonlue Thamtharanukul, head of the Mae Chaem district, told EFE on Friday from Chiang Mai province.

Boonlue said he launched the campaign to promote vaccination among the 60,000 people in the district, where many are afraid to receive a jab for fear of the side effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

He said fears are due to what the neighbors read on social networks or are told by friends and relatives.

Many countries have halted AstraZeneca vaccinations since March, after it was associated with rare cases of thromboembolism, although the European Medicines Agency (EMA) later said the benefits of the vaccine “outweigh the risks” and has recommended its use.

In Mae Chaem, at least 5,500 people – 9.16 percent of the district’s residents – have so far signed up for the vaccine, Boonlue said.

“The cows will be donated by the residents of the district who want to promote this campaign,” said the local official, adding that the first cow will be raffled on Jun. 14, a week after the start of the campaign. The rest will be raffled in the following weeks until the end of December.

Thailand was one of the countries that best dealt with the pandemic with an early closure of the borders, but since the end of March it has been immersed in a new wave that has increased infections by 75 percent to 123,066 cases, including 735 deaths.

The authorities of the country, of almost 70 million inhabitants, began its vaccination campaign on Feb. 28, but to date has only inoculated about 1 million people with the complete dosage, while another 1.7 million have received the first jab.

The country has implemented several measures, such as the closure of schools, parks, bars and nightlife establishments, to try to control the outbreak. EFE


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