Thailand launches “The Big Catch-Up” campaign to boost child immunisation rates

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The Public Health Ministry in Thailand is ramping up the rollout of essential vaccines, including polio and measles, to children nationwide. This comes after a recent study revealed that the immunisation rate among Thai children has declined to around 80%.

In statements made to commemorate World Immunisation Week, the Director-Generals of the Department of Disease Control, Tares Krassanairawiwong, and the National Vaccine Institute, Nakhon Premsri, unveiled a plan to increase vaccination rates among Thai children and adolescents.

Despite the Public Health Ministry having distributed more than 150 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines over the past three years, fundamental immunisation rates across the country have decreased, particularly in the deep South. Consequently, a campaign has been devised to address this issue.

To counteract the drop in immunisation rates, the ministry has initiated a campaign known as “The Big Catch-Up.” Health authorities will provide DPT, pertussis, tetanus, hepatitis B, measles, and human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccinations to both children and adults as part of this campaign.

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The collaborative effort involves both the public and private sectors, with support from the Department of Local Administration, sub-district health promotion hospitals, and village health volunteers, according to Dr Nakhon.

Dr Nakhon cautioned that if the national measles immunisation rate continues to decline, the likelihood of a measles resurgence will grow. “We’ve eradicated polio, but the low rate of polio immunisation might allow a new outbreak,” he said.

Dr Nakhon emphasised the importance of maintaining a recommended immunisation rate above 90%. Currently, the rate stands at approximately 80%.

The collaborative efforts of the public and private sectors, as well as the various health organizations, are crucial for the success of this campaign. Improving vaccination rates is essential for keeping children and adults safe from preventable diseases and reducing the potential impact on health systems.

By ensuring that essential vaccines reach every corner of the country, Thailand’s Public Health Ministry aims to achieve the necessary immunisation rates and secure the well-being of its citizens. The campaign’s ultimate goal is to minimise the risk of vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks, thereby protecting public health and preventing the unnecessary loss of lives.

The launch of “The Big Catch-Up” campaign is a positive step towards addressing the decline in immunisation rates in Thailand. Through joint efforts from the public and private sectors, as well as support from health organisations and professionals, the country can work towards achieving the required vaccination coverage, keeping its communities safe and healthy for future generations.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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