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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

AstraZeneca will remain Thailand’s primary vaccine, insists Health Minister

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons

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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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Ian Bromley

    Friday, April 16, 2021 at 9:58 am

    Full steam ahead and ignore the iceberg said the captain of the Titanic.

  2. Avatar

    Carl L

    Friday, April 16, 2021 at 10:15 am

    The whole discussion about the rare blood clotting is ridiculous The risks associated with getting covid, smoking or even using contraceptive pills is hundreds or even thousands times bigger… If any action should be taken, there should be temporary restriction to use AstraZeneca for women in fertile age who are the victims of the rare blood cloths. Everyone else (all men and women over 50 should have no issues)
    No one is talking about issues with Sinovac, it has very limited documentation and the results around the world shows that it has very low efficacy, it barely protects against Covid at all, in sharp contrast to the AstraZeneca jab that has proven very safe and effective. The biggest risk of this ridiculous debate against AstraZeneca, which is mainly politics, is further delay in distribution of jab’s that for sure will continue to let the virus spread, let it mutate more and will kill many people while destroying what’s left of the tourist industry!!

  3. Avatar

    Nipral

    Friday, April 16, 2021 at 10:51 am

    It is true that AZ is being very generous with kickbacks !
    Now as far as vaccine efficiency is concerned we still have major concerns…
    But of course Dr. Prof. Anutin knows better 😂😂😂

  4. Avatar

    Simon Small

    Friday, April 16, 2021 at 1:08 pm

    I don’t think the problem’s side effects, @Carl L, but efficacy. If AZ is next to useless against variants, what’s the point when by the time it comes around that’s what Thailand will probably have?

  5. Avatar

    Ray

    Friday, April 16, 2021 at 4:15 pm

    Totally agree with Carl L. I had my first jab with the AZ vaccine three days ago and the other people in the waiting had no reservations at all. However, some reports mentioned up to 40% stayed did not show up in the last week.

  6. Avatar

    LondonAl

    Friday, April 16, 2021 at 7:58 pm

    Simon Small the AZ vaccine isn’t “next to useless” against variants, in fact there isn’t a single variant which has been proven to defeat any of the vaccines, when there is we can talk about it but in the meantime you’d be doing us all a favour if you kept your doom and gloom narrative to yourself.

  7. Avatar

    Chiang Mai Mark

    Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 1:24 pm

    A 71 year old monk died just a few hours after he was injected with the Covid-19 vaccine while 3 other monks at the same temple, Wat Samphanthawong Moranaphap in Bangkok, were taken to the hospital sometime after being injected with the vaccine to be treated for a high fever. This is just a small sample of people dying from AZ, and also proves it is not safe for people age 50 and up. It’s killing people all over the world. They are saying it’s safe because the actual ratio of deaths per # of injections are not high. The chances of winning the lottery are not high either, but I don’t want to buy a lottery ticket to death. The johnson & johnson vaccine is also causing blood clots . Denmark has suspended the use of AZ now. For now the other brands of vaccine appear to be safe. But plans are already in place for Thailand to produce and sell AZ and there is money to be made so, full steam ahead.

  8. Avatar

    DRJ

    Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 10:15 pm

    Possibly because its cheap ?

  9. Avatar

    Ray

    Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 4:14 pm

    A hospital in my country published X-rays showing infected lungs from an elderly man. The patient previously refused the AZ jab and now is seriously ill with Covid-19. He told told the medical staff with fear in his eyes that he is full of regret. The X-rays are published with his permission to give a stern warning to anti-vaxxers.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket red zone list adds Krabi, Trang, Ranong, Phatthalung

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: The Phuket checkpoint now lists 25 provinces as a red zone.

Visitors to Phuket from Krabi, Trang, Ranong, and Phatthalung will now have to prove they’re vaccinated or have a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of arrival, as they’ve been added to the red zone province list. People entering without those qualifications will have to take a rapid antigen test on the spot before being allowed into Phuket.

The 4 provinces join a group of 21 other provinces already on the Phuket red zone list requiring strict measures to enter. That list even includes Phuket itself, as people do exit the province have to prove a negative test or vaccination before being allowed to re-enter.

Phuket’s vice governor made the announcement yesterday after the governor signed the order and put it into effect until at least May 15th. That same order requires all trucks transporting goods to travel from 11 pm to 5 am, the nighttime hours that other people are not allowed to enter the island. Phuket recently closed its entry checkpoints from late night to early morning after reports of exhaustion from the health officials working to test everyone or verify their credentials.

Delivery drivers will also have to pass the same requirements as red zone province arrivals before entering Phuket. Any driver who does not have a negative test within 72 hours or proof that they’ve received both doses of a vaccine approved by Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration, will be forced to wait until the regular checkpoint opens at 5 am to receive a rapid antigen test.

Over 40,000 people from red zones have now been tested at the checkpoint to enter Phuket. In the first week of the requirement which began on April 22, health officials tested more than 22,000 people, overwhelming staff and prompting the government to close the entrance from 11 pm to 5 am to give checkpoint workers a break.

The 25 provinces currently classified as a red zone for entering Phuket are as follows:

Bangkok Nakhon Pathom Pathum Thani Rayong Suphan Buri
Chiang Mai Nakhon Ratchasima Phatthalung Sa Kaeo Surat Thani
Chonburi Nakhon Sri Thammarat Phuket Samut Prakan Tak
Khon Kaen Narathiwat Prachuap Khiri Khan Samut Sakhon Trang
Krabi Nonthaburi Ranong Songkhla Udon Thani

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

BMA admits Covid virus spreading fast in Bangkok, speeds up testing and jabs

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Stock photo via Flickr

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration says it is speeding up mass Covid-19 testing and inoculations in communities hit strongly by the virus, after admitting the virus is spreading fast in Thailand’s capital.

The city clerk says the administration, along with the Public Health Ministry and other agencies, are speeding up the collection of nasal swabs for Covid-19 tests, with a plan to test 3,000 people in high-risk groups per day. Those people deemed to be at an increased risk of the virus have been clustered by districts, with testing units in each of the 6 districts…

Laksi district, 70 Pansa Min Buri park in Min Buri district, Huai Khwang stadium in Huai Khwang district, under the Rama III expressway in Yannawa district, a public park under Rama VIII bridge in Bang Phlad district and The Mall Bangkae shopping centre in Bang Kae district.

The virus has been found in densely populated, low-income areas such as the Klong Toey community in Klong Toey district, Bon Kai community in Pathumwan district and Ban Khing community and The Mall Bangkae in Bang Kae district. In an effort to help those residents stay at home to prevent the possible spreading of the coronavirus, community-level organisations are teaming up to provide food, water, and supplements to those in the areas.

But stay at home orders are a problem for many as starvation is more frightening than the virus and 90% of residents in the slum communities still need to leave for work each day to keep food on the table. The daily average income for those in the slums is around 120 to 150 baht. The CCSA yesterday declared that is is focusing on containing major Covid clusters in 3 key Bangkok communities – the Klong Toey ‘slums’, Bon Kai in Pathumwan and Ban Khing in the Bang Kae district, on the west side of the Chao Phraya.

Today’s nationwide Covid update includes compiling the regional totals from yesterday, with a total of 27 new Covid-related deaths and 2,044 new Covid-19 infections over the past 24 hours. The numbers continue a statistically consistent rise in the number of Covid infections over the past 2 weeks.

Meanwhile, talking about Phuket’s plans to open in July, the Tourism and Sports Minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, said yesterday that the number of new cases on the island must reach zero before the government can contemplate the ‘Sandbox’ plan for no-quarantine travel.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket visitor Covid-19 rapid antigen testing may end May 15

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Covid-19 rapid tests may be discontinued in Phuket. (via Wikimedia)

In a live broadcast, Phuket’s Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong said officials will consider discontinuing Covid-19 rapid antigen testing for people arriving into Phuket after May 15. The interview from the Phuket Check Point at Tha Chatchai yesterday seems to contradict a recent statement from the governor launching additional rapid testing from today.

Entry to Phuket since April 22 has been limited for travellers from red zone provinces, requiring proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test within the last 72 hours. Anyone arriving without either of these would be screened on the spot with rapid antigen tests. Though originally offered for 300 baht per person, controversy arose over Thailand’s 2-tier pricing as it was announced that testing would be free for Thai people and 500 baht for foreigners.

The National Health Security Office provided 40 billion baht for testing in Phuket, allowing free testing for nationals, but as that funding is used up, Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew announced that the testing will no longer be free for Thai people after May 15. Phuket does not have the budget for free rapid antigen testing so they will likely be forced to require payment after that date.

The current testing has seen a decline in positive Covid-19 infections, not finding any new cases for several days, prompting the government to rethink whether the current system of rapid testing those who are not vaccinated or holding a recent negative test certificate is worth the money spent.

Over 40,000 people have been tested since the program began April 22 until the current figures on May 5, with only 22 covid infections identified. Furthermore, 5 of those infections turned out to be false positives.

The vice-governor conceded that Phuket has Covid-19 outbreak problems with growing infections every day, but explains that the infections are from within the community and not from outside visitors. The latest infections stem in large part from gambling get-togethers without proper Covid-19 safety.

As of now, the rapid antigen testing will continue until the May 15 cut off, but government officials are still debating whether to continue testing and whether funding will exist for it after that date.

The NHSO has recently hinted that they will approve more funds to continue testing, a signal that had not been received before the governor’s announcement on Wednesday about the rapid antigen testing.

The vice-governor stressed that the situation is constantly evolving and that new information it’s shared frequently, and often out of local control. He urges everyone to pay attention to forthcoming announcements.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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