Booster vaccines really do boost immunity to Omicron, says National Vaccine Institute

Thai Health Secretary Anutin Anutin Chanverakul gets the Sinovac jab. Credit: Thai Disease Control Department

Thailand’s National Vaccine Institute has refuted a rumour spreading on Thai social media that claims booster shots of Covid-19 vaccines aren’t necessary for the Omicron variants, as infection from Thailand’s dominant virus stain effectively provides robust immunity.

In fact, those who rely on “natural immunity” from infection potentially risk severe illness or death, the institute has warned, saying adults are at risk of other complications including ‘long Covid’ while children risk multisystem inflammatory syndrome.

Their recommendation? Booster shots. The Institute emphasises that additional boosters of a Covid-19 vaccine does in fact provide “strong protection” against Omicron variants of the virus, quoting multiple long-term international studies and studies conducted in Thailand.

Currently, only about 35 percent of the Thai population has received a booster vaccine, according to data valid up to April 8. Besides urging people to get an additional booster vaccine, the Institute said people should remain “vigilant and follow official safety measures in order to protect themselves and their loved ones from the virus”.

The institute also claimed there is no record of anyone having died from Covid-19 in the kingdom after receiving a fourth Covid vaccine.

“During the Omicron pandemic, two Covid-19 jabs do not protect people from infection, but they provide 85 percent protection against death. The third jab provides 34-68 percent protection against infection and 98-99 percent against death, while the fourth jab provides 80-82 percent protection against infection.”

Moreover, the booster rate is reportedly low among the nation’s 3 most vulnerable groups groups, who are risk of experiencing severe symptoms and death. These includes pregnant women, people over 60 years of age, and people with chronic illnesses, such as lung, cardiovascular and kidney diseases, as well as those with obesity, cancer, diabetes or a having had a stroke.

“Only a small proportion in these groups have a received booster jab.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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