Anutin rejects suggestion booster doses should stop until everyone gets first dose

PHOTO: Facebook/โรงพยาบาลวชิระภูเก็ต

The Public Health Minister has defended the administration of third Covid-19 vaccine doses, despite some people still waiting for their first. Anutin Charnvirakul was responding to some advisers at the Department of Disease Control, who suggested people fully vaccinated with Sinovac should not get a booster while others are still waiting for their first dose. According to a Bangkok Post report, the advisers suggested the current supply should be allocated to the unvaccinated. However, Anutin rejects the suggestion.

“If there are any questions, please tell them that this is the minister’s order. We have enough vaccines for all in need. Moreover, I don’t want to see this group (those who received 2 doses of Sinovac) losing the chance to protect themselves from the outbreak.”

When the government’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout finally got underway earlier this year, Sinovac was initially one of the only vaccines available. The Bangkok Post reports that around 10 million people have now received 2 doses of the Chinese-made vaccine. However, it is now known that the vaccine is less effective against the highly-contagious Delta variant. As a result, Sinovac recipients are being offered a booster dose of AstraZeneca or, in some cases, the Pfizer mRNA vaccine.

By the end of the year, Thailand is expected to have taken delivery of 152 million vaccine doses, including 62.9 from AstraZeneca and 31.5 from Pfizer. Yesterday, the government also received 470,000 AstraZeneca doses from South Korea. According to the Bangkok Post report, around 85% of the population should have received their first dose by the end of the year, while around 70% of people will be fully vaccinated.

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From next month, with Sinovac supplies used up and no longer being replenished, the government will move to using a mix-and-match protocol of AstraZeneca and Pfizer. The rollout will be accelerated as part of the country’s planned re-opening, with priority going to the elderly, people with chronic illnesses, and women who are 3 months pregnant.

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SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Maya Taylor

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