The AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine has been approved to be used as a third “booster” shot as well as a second dose for those who have been injected with a dose of the Sinovac vaccine. Thailand’s National Communicable Disease Committee officially approved the additional AstraZeneca doses.
Following hundreds of cases involving vaccinated healthcare workers testing positive for Covid-19, as well as the death of a nurse who had received 2 doses of Sinovac and later contacted Covid-19, Thai authorities looked into using a third dose to boost immunity against the coronavirus. The booster shot will be administered to medical professionals and frontline workers, according to a spokesperson for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.
“To assure that our medical professionals are safe, today, the National Committee on Infectious Diseases will officially approve the plan to offer a booster shot to medical personnel and the additional third shot will either be AstraZeneca vaccine, which we already have in stock, or Pfizer vaccine, which is due to arrive later this month.”
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, who chaired the NCDC meeting, also confirmed that the AstraZeneca booster shot will be given to medical personnel. The majority of them have received 2 doses of the Sinovac vaccine.
A recent study in Thailand found that the Sinovac vaccine is not effective against the Delta variant of Covid-19, a highly transmissible strain of the virus, which is becoming more prevalent in Thailand. The study shows that 2 Sinovac doses, plus an AstraZeneca booster shot, can prevent a Delta variant infection, but 2 doses of AstraZeneca are still more effective.
The Pfizer vaccine, which is being donated by the US government, will be used as a booster shot for medical staff. It will also be used to inoculate foreign diplomats and vulnerable groups including the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.
AstraZeneca as a second dose
The Public Health Ministry decided to use the AstraZeneca vaccine as a second dose for those who received a single dose of the Sinovac vaccine as it is said to be more effective against the Delta variant. The doses will be given at least 3 to 4 weeks apart.
For the general public who have received 2 doses of the Sinovac vaccine, it is unclear if they will be eligible for a booster shot. With a limited supply of vaccines this month, the Thai government is focusing on those at high risk, particularly in Bangkok, the epicentre of the latest wave.
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