The Health Minister insists the AstraZeneca vaccine will remain Thailand’s primary Covid-19 jab, despite concerns over rare side-effects. Some countries have suspended its use, while Denmark is the first country in Europe to abandon it completely. However, Anutin Charnvirakul says it’s up to each country to make their own decisions and Thailand is pressing ahead with the jab.
“There are many factors for each country whether to use or not use the vaccine. But we have expertise to closely monitor the vaccine information. We base decisions on scientific knowledge, not news. If something happens, we will let the public know. Please do not worry about it.”
Thailand is ordering vaccines from a limited number of manufacturers, primarily AstraZeneca and China’s Sinovac Biotech. According to a Bangkok Post report, the Kingdom is purchasing 71 million doses of the AstraZeneca jab and 2 million doses of CoronaVac, the vaccine from Sinovac. The rollout is expected to begin in June, with health officials aiming to inoculate 35 million people (half the population) by the end of the year.
However, the challenge will be gaining the public’s trust, as countries around the world express concerns about the very rare risk of blood clots that appears to be associated with adenovirus vector vaccines, such as AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. The single-dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson is the third vaccine to be approved for emergency use in Thailand, but the US has just suspended its use following a number of blood clot incidents similar to the AstraZeneca cases.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation and the European Medicines Agency insist the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the risks of very rare blood clots. In the UK, the vaccine has been widely administered as the country sets its sights on achieving herd immunity, with Anutin pointing out that infections there have dropped considerably.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post
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