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Thai hospital ordered to stop advertising sale of Covid vaccine

BANGKOK: A private Thai hospital was ordered yesterday to stop advertising Covid-19 vaccinations for sale.

Vibhavadi Hospital told Reuters its online offer for 1,000 initial reservations for the two-dose Moderna vaccine had been the result of a misunderstanding. With reservations priced at 4,000 baht (S$180), the total cost of getting vaccinated would have been 10,000 baht.

As governments begin vaccine roll-outs, questions have been raised over how the limited supplies are prioritised and whether people will be able to pay to jump the queue.

The Ministry of Health said in a statement that no Covid-19 vaccine had been approved for use in Thailand yet and that advertising one violated hospital regulations.

"The removal of the advertisement was ordered," it said.

Vibhavadi Hospital director Chaisit Kupwiwat said: "There was a misunderstanding and so we've stopped the programme... We planned to order the vaccines, but now we've stopped."

Thailand has signed an advance deal for AstraZeneca's potential Covid-19 vaccine, but has not set roll-out plans yet.

Thailand yesterday confirmed 103 cases, including 94 domestic transmissions.

Meanwhile, Malaysia's health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah has warned patients seeking treatment at healthcare facilities to not lie to front-liners when they're being screened for Covid-19.

"Do not lie to front-liners. We should also be protected, we have family and friends. Don't betray front-liners," he posted on Facebook yesterday.

Dr Noor Hisham had shared a Facebook post by Dr Nur Marini Zainal, who had described her experience dealing with a patient who claimed to be healthy but actually had coronavirus symptoms previously.

"I was the doctor who prepared the patient for the scan. I was surprised to see the patient's lungs shown in the CT resembling (that of) a Covid-19 patient," she said.

She said the patient admitted to lying after being probed and tested positive two days later.

The doctor then self-isolated and took a swab test. "My results came out positive. I cried when I found out."

Malaysia recorded 1,196 cases yesterday, bringing its total to 105,096. - REUTERS, THE STAR

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