BANGKOK: The government is encouraged to allow companies to deduct the cost of providing COVID-19 vaccines to their employees from their corporate taxes as an indirect economic incentive.
Many construction sites had to be closed across the country. Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul
On average, the cost of importing a COVID-19 vaccine per employee is B 2,000, or around B 2 million for a company with 1,000 employees like a construction company whose labor camps are closing due to COVID-19 outbreaks, Kobsak said Pootrakool, a former Prime Minister’s Office Secretary.
The cost of ceasing operations at a factory or closing a construction site is estimated at between B 5 million and B 10 million per day, which is far higher than the cost of providing COVID-19 vaccines to workers, he said.
Mr. Kobsak, who is now Senior Executive Vice President of Bangkok Bank, recently spoke on a Facebook live streaming talk hosted by veteran journalist Suthichai Yoon.
Aside from construction companies, other types of businesses have large numbers of employees to look after, such as department stores and restaurant chains, he said.
If these companies can operate after vaccinating their workers against COVID-19, they will go a long way in helping efforts to keep the country’s economy afloat, he said. While these companies take care of COVID-19 vaccinations for their employees, the government can focus their vaccination efforts on the more at-risk groups, he said.
The current COVID-19 wave is severe and Thailand requires quick action to successfully contain it as soon as possible, otherwise scenarios could be the same as those in the US, Europe and India before, he said.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha’s promise to remove all barriers to importing COVID-19 vaccines into the country is a positive sign for companies looking to import vaccines themselves, Kobsak said.
The government needs a faster approach to deal with the outbreak as the number of new infections remains high despite the lockdown that has been in place for almost a month, he said.
He also called on the government to send funds directly to the provinces to aid their fight against COVID-19.