Get Astra approved
Re: “Astra mystery”, (PostBag, Oct 2).
Michael Palmer highlights the problem many of us still have in going to see loved ones in Europe. The UK has scheduled Thailand as a red zone and therefore requires government quarantine for returning citizens, who do not actually have to be vaccinated. Non citizens cannot enter. This is not because of the scale of our infections but because Thailand does too little genome testing to identify new variants and provides insufficient data.
Since the UK was the second-largest source of tourists to the Phuket Sandbox scheme prior to entering the red list, one would have thought that this would be an easy win for a government looking to boost tourism. Confusingly, France accepts Thai-produced AstraZeneca by concession, but the EU does not so we cannot go to Spain, Italy, etc.
Like much of the vaccine saga in Thailand, the application for WHO emergency use approval was delayed until September, several months after vaccinations commenced. They hope to gain approval by the end of year. Getting Thai AstraZeneca approved by the EU and WHO is essential for normal travel to resolve.