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AstraZeneca vaccine could be approved for emergency use in Thailand this week

Maya Taylor

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AstraZeneca vaccine could be approved for emergency use in Thailand this week | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Hakan Nural for UnSplash

Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration is likely to approve a Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca in partnership with Oxford University as early as this week. The vaccine, already given the go-ahead in the US and UK, would be approved for emergency use, with administration likely to begin next month. Healthcare workers and those with underlying conditions will be prioritised.

Opas Karnkawinpong from the Disease Control Department says the FDA’s review of the vaccine’s efficacy and safety is going well. Thailand has fallen behind its neighbours in terms of vaccine administration, with a number of countries in the region already starting their roll-out. Indonesia kicked things off last week, with President Joko Widodo the first to receive China’s Sinovac jab.

Thailand is expected to take delivery of 200,000 doses of the Chinese vaccine next month, but questions linger over its efficacy, which was recently revised downwards by researchers in Brazil. The vaccine has not yet completed phase 3 trials and Thailand’s health officials say it may not gain FDA approval until February 14, as the manufacturer has no representation in the Kingdom.

Thailand has signed a technology-transfer agreement with AstraZeneca to produce that vaccine locally. The jab will be manufactured by Siam Bioscience, a pharmaceutical company owned by the Monarchy. Surachok Tangwiwat from the FDA says the doses currently subject to approval have been produced by other countries, but did not specify which ones, how many doses have been imported, or at what cost.

The AstraZeneca vaccine has completed phase 3 trials and has been shown to be 70% effective, less than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. However, the World Health Organisation has previously stated that a vaccine only needs to be over 50% effective to meet the global threshold for regulatory approval.

SOURCE: Coconuts

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22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Nipral

    Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 1:52 pm

    Yesterday it was supposed to be approved next month, now it is this week, tomorrow will probably be yesterday !

  2. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 4:02 pm

    We really are stupid in Britain. Thailand keeps our nationals from returning to their their familys, and businesses, with overpriced restrictions.
    The British were prevented from flying out of Thailand and lost their tickets. I was one.
    Britain imports Thai rice into Britain at something like 2 percent tariffs, while Thailand put 50 percent tariffs on Colman’s mustard, plus a similar tariff on British tea imported into Thailand.
    Yet the British let Thailand have a vaccine developed in Britain with no help from the Thais, no matter what they claim.
    One week after this vaccine arrives in Thailand at a tiny cost, Thai private hospitals will be selling it for B10.000.
    Just watch!

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 9:20 pm

      But Toby, you’re not “in Britain”, or at least that’s what you keep saying.

      Have you forgotten that you’re claiming to be in Cambodia, where you say you went to as you’d had enough of Thailand’s “corruption”, “dictatorship” and lack of “democracy”?

      • Avatar

        Toby Andrews

        Thursday, January 21, 2021 at 12:25 am

        It makes no difference. I am British with British values which you have abandoned to adopt heathen corrupt ways due to you weak morals.

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Thursday, January 21, 2021 at 8:29 am

          British “values” may well be at an all time low but fortunately they’re not yet typified by the likes of you.

          • Avatar

            Toby Andrews

            Thursday, January 21, 2021 at 9:21 am

            Well you justified Thai police taking bribes because they are very badly paid.
            You have lived among the cheating and corruption so long you now accept it as normal.
            You are the one who paid tea money to renew a licence. So you defend them . . .

    • Avatar

      Steve

      Sunday, January 24, 2021 at 1:49 am

      I agree 100%. Also the stv visa has been ramped up to now include a covid vaccine and the price is a staggering 150000 Baht. This is £3750, yes you read it right. And we gave them a licence to produce it. No reserch costs or anything. And they jack the price up to unbelivable hights!

  3. Avatar

    James R

    Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 7:50 pm

    The British were stopped from flying out of Thailand?

    When was that?

    I was there from January until August last year and I kept on changing the return date on my ticket as I wanted to stay longer but I could have flown out at any time.

    I eventually left by my choice at the end of August, up until then the Thai government was kind enough to extend my 90 day visa automatically again and again at no cost to me.

    If you had an inflexible ticket or no travel insurance then that is your fault.

    • Avatar

      Toby Andrews

      Thursday, January 21, 2021 at 12:21 am

      June I had a ticket to fly out. It was cancelled because the Thais closed outward flights.
      Do you think I ma making it UP!
      TRAVEL INSURANCE WOULD HAVE MADE NO DIFFERENCE.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Thursday, January 21, 2021 at 9:23 am

        “The British” weren’t “prevented from flying out of Thailand” and nobody “lost their tickets”; nor did “the Thais closed outward flights”.

        All statements are completely untrue.

        Thailand closed the airport to inbound international flights – not “outward”, although they were obviously directly affected, so nobody was able to take an international flight whatever their nationality, including Thais.

        … and nobody “lost their tickets”. All tickets that couldn’t be used were refundable under and according to IATA regulations, as the CAAT confirmed.

        All very easily verifiable.

        So, “yes”, you were “making it UP”, and then you made up some more. Nothing new.

        • Avatar

          Tony Andrews

          Sunday, January 24, 2021 at 5:31 pm

          I am not going to send you a notification from my airline that cancelled my ticket because the airport was closed.
          I have credit they tell me.
          Keep believing in the wonderful Thai, but the facts are there.
          Read Bangkok post 17th of June 2020.

  4. Avatar

    Issan John

    Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 9:33 pm

    “The AstraZeneca vaccine has completed phase 3 trials and has been shown to be 70% effective, less than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.”

    Do you have a reliable source for any of that, Thaiger?

    I realise your source is Coconuts Bangkok, but unless they have a world exclusive the results of AZ’s Phase 3 trials have yet to be released, and the “70%” is based on interim results announced in November to very different criteria to the two mRNA vaccines.

  5. Avatar

    Ben

    Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 9:38 pm

    Yes Toby, the British Empire has really declined in the last few hundred years. Should I pity you?

    So some guy at Oxford figured out the vaccine. Big deal. There are people in the USA, China and elsewhere around the world doing the same thing.

    The vaccine is a commodity and if Thailand didn’t get it from Astra Zeneca they would get it elsewhere. Stop whining like the UK just saved Thailand from death and destruction and doesn’t get any credit.

    • Avatar

      Toby Andrews

      Thursday, January 21, 2021 at 12:30 am

      Yes that is right. It is supposed to be 70 percent effective.
      If the Thais do not want it let them pray to Buddha.

    • Avatar

      Toby Andrews

      Thursday, January 21, 2021 at 12:39 am

      Big deal huh. Let the Thais figure out a vaccine. See if they can match the big deal.
      Let them take it from China, the USA.
      They will not because the UK are likely to be giving them the vaccine free!
      China and the USA will not.
      I do not want to save Thailand from death and destruction. I do not want credit for it.
      Do not pity me. I pity you for siding with these parasite of western technology and aid.
      You really are deluded.

      • Avatar

        Ben

        Sunday, January 24, 2021 at 12:57 pm

        Toby, you seem angry and bitter about life. I do pity you and I’m not being flippant. You’re not a happy guy and that sucks.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Thursday, January 21, 2021 at 10:08 am

      “The UK” isn’t “likely to be giving them the vaccine free” because it isn’t theirs to give.

      The Astra Zeneca vaccine all too obviously belongs to Astra Zeneca, a British-Swedish multi-national, who are selling it, not “giving” it to anyone – including selling it to “the UK” which is in the queue along with everyone else.

      They’re also selling the technology and manufacturing rights, which they’ve already sold to Siam BioScience for production in Thailand.

      As usual you’re “making it UP”, along with your claims that I “justified Thai police taking bribes because they are very badly paid” and that I “paid tea money to renew a licence.” All, unsurprisingly, completely untrue, and all because Thailand refused to renew your visa.

      Ben may pity you – I don’t, as people like you have dragged the UK down to the sad state it’s now in.

      • Avatar

        James R

        Friday, January 22, 2021 at 9:13 pm

        Issan John

        Yet more nonsense.

        The vaccine is being produced in the UK on a massive scale, the British government is buying it and giving it out for free, how more simply do you want it to be explained?

  6. Avatar

    Ben

    Thursday, January 21, 2021 at 5:23 am

    Seriously, the key to opening up the country is to eliminate the quarantine. Go back to how it was before – visa on arrival for 30 or 45 days plus extensions or tourist visas for longer stays. So how do you do that? Two key things – vaccination and testing.

    Vaccination: Require all arrivals to be vaccinated. If the vaccinated are not infectious they can come into the country asap. If scientists cannot confirm non-infectiousness of the vaccinated then inoculate 70% the population and open up. Standardized proof of vaccination, your passport and a negative COVID test should be presented to the airline before boarding passes are issued.

    Testing: Require all arrivals to have a negative test at the airport before boarding the flight. All international destinations are going to require a negative test so make it convenient for the traveler and set something up at the airport that works.

    Leave the Thai embassies out of the process. Cut unnecessary bureaucracy. No more mandatory visas, certificate of entry form, fit to fly form, declaration form, COVID test paperwork, medical certificate, proof of accommodation and proof of financial capability. This is all friction that gives people reason to not come. Yes once in a while you’ll have someone arrive that isn’t able to pay for a large hospital bill but that’s very seldom and creating rules that apply to all to catch the 1 in 10,000 occurrence isn’t a sound best practice.

    Use current resources to point towards the plan of true reopen and not on schemes like golf quarantines that’ll bring in very low marginal revenue. I actually looked into the golf quarantine and the chatter on the internet is that it only applies to “low risk countries”. Have I seen this movie before?

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Thursday, January 21, 2021 at 10:20 am

      Agree with you on all counts, Ben, but the problem is that nobody knows yet if any of the vaccines prevent transmission or if different vaccines prevent transmission to differing degrees, and that’s going to be impossible to establish with any degree of certainty between the vaccines as none of the manufacturers tested for it in their trials.

      Rather an oversight.

      Pre-flight testing? Ideal, if only the technology existed, but even with the accuracy of PCR tests over current “rapid” tests it would still mean that with current testing standards several on any international flight could be infected.

      The golf quarantine is indeed only “low risk countries” – confirmed at sites like GolfAsia, with a list of the countries.

  7. Avatar

    James Pate

    Thursday, January 21, 2021 at 5:53 am

    Sign me up! I’ll take whatever flavor of vaccine they have! Better than nothing. I’m not picky about my brand of mustard or tea, either. ?

  8. Avatar

    Issan John

    Thursday, January 21, 2021 at 12:52 pm

    The efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine is now open to considerable doubt, at best, as a result of the recent data from Israel which shows very clearly that the first dose, at least, is nowhere near as effective as the manufacturers had claimed ro some countries such as the UK had estimated.

    The UK estimated an efficacy after the first dose of 89% after 14 days; Pfizer claimed 52%.

    Israel, where a quarter of the population has been vaccinated, made a detailed study of 200,000 vaccinated which they compared to a control group also of 200,000 which shows that efficacy after 14 days isn’t 89% as the UK estimated or 52% as Pfizer claimed, but only 33%.

    That only applies to the first dose after 14 days, but if the efficacy there is down from 52% to only 33% then it’s not unreasonable to suppose that the overall effectiveness might be down by a similar amount, so down from 95% to only 60%.

    That’s a little worrying for those pinning their plans on the Pfizer vaccine, to put it mildly.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Quarantine for vaccinated travellers to be reduced to 7 days

The Thaiger

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Quarantine for vaccinated travellers to be reduced to 7 days | The Thaiger
Photo via Facebook/อนุทิน ชาญวีรกูล

The mandatory quarantine period for those who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus will be reduced from 14 days to 7 days, Thailand’s Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirankul said in a press conference. Those who have not been vaccinated, but have a medical certificate declaring that they are Covid-free, will be required to quarantine to 10 days, Anutin said, according to Reuters.

The health minister says vaccinations must be administered within 3 months of travelling to Thailand. Travellers must still show negative Covid-19 test results issued within 72 hours of their departure to Thailand. Those travelling from Africa must still quarantine for 14 days due to concerns about new variants of the coronavirus.

SOURCE: Reuters

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CCSA Update: 71 new Covid-19 cases

The Thaiger

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CCSA Update: 71 new Covid-19 cases | The Thaiger
Deputy spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Natapanu Nopakun / Photo courtesy of the Royal Thai Government

71 new Covid-19 cases were reported today in the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s daily briefing. There are currently 579 active cases. Since the start of the pandemic last year, the CCSA has reported a total of 26,441 coronavirus cases in Thailand and 85 deaths.

“The numbers are getting better,” according to deputy spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Natapanu Nopakun, who gives the CCSA report in English. The daily active case count has remained between 500 to 600 cases for the past week, a much lower average than last month when mass testing campaigns were actively rolled out in high risk areas to help trace and contain the virus.

Out of the 71 cases, 41 were detected in hospitals, primarily in Samut Sakhon. 7 cases were detected in active case finding, including 6 in Samut Sakhon and 1 in Pathum Thani. The other 23 cases were detected in quarantine for those travelling to Thailand from overseas.

Recently, 2 beauty pageant contestants tested positive for Covid-19 while in quarantine after arriving in Thailand from overseas. Women from 63 countries travelled to Thailand to participate in a beauty pageant scheduled for later this month. Natapanu praised the health care workers for their effectiveness at detecting the virus at an early stage.

Over the weekend, the CCSA reported 65 new cases yesterday and 64 new cases on Saturday.

CCSA Update: 71 new Covid-19 cases | News by The Thaiger

CCSA Update: 71 new Covid-19 cases | News by The Thaiger

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SOURCE: CCSA

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Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai hotels slash prices amid ongoing slump in tourism

Maya Taylor

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Chiang Mai hotels slash prices amid ongoing slump in tourism | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Rati Lanna Riverside Spa Resort

Hotels in the northern province of Chiang Mai have been forced to cut their rates by up to 90%, in a desperate bid to attract more domestic tourists. According to a Bangkok Post report, La-Iad Bungsrithong, from the northern chapter of the Thai Hotels Association, says with tourists mainly favouring the southern beach destinations this month, hotel operators in the north of the country are preparing for the forthcoming low season.

The resurgence of Covid-19 late last year meant that in December, only 1,000 Chiang Mai hotels, offering between 20,000 and 30,000 rooms, stayed open. This month, occupancy rates have plummeted to less than 3% and are not expected to rise beyond 5% during the Songkran holiday next month.

La-Iad says traditional target markets such as China are currently off-limits due to the Chinese government placing restrictions on citizens travelling out of the country.

“Even though vaccine distribution has started globally, the target markets for Chiang Mai such as China still cannot take outbound trips. Operators have to rely on the domestic market for the whole year.”

She adds that the Rati Lanna Riverside Spa Resort, of which she is general manager, has cut room rates to 1,500 baht a night, compared to the normal rate of 13,000 baht prior to the pandemic.

Hotels are also being forced to explore new ways of making money, with around 30 hotels – all 4 and 5 star properties – now offering a “drive-thru” food service. La-Iad says hotel operators are also calling on the Chiang Mai office of the Tourism Authority of Thailand to provide visitors to the province with a 500 baht coupon to be redeemed in hotel eateries. She says the authority also needs to do more to promote inter-provincial travel, in particular from the south and north-east of the country.

In 2019, Chiang Mai welcomed 11 million tourists, with 70% of them being Thai. By contrast, there were only 1 million in 2020. This year’s number is expected to be around 25% of the 2019 figure.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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