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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

CCSA Covid-19 plan: domestic vaccines, “learning to live with it”

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Times of India

Facing the emergence of the Delta variant and surge of Covid-19 infections, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha seems to be accepting the idea that Thailand may never be rid of the Coronavirus. He proposed a shift in focus for the government at a Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration meeting on Friday, suggesting a “learn to live with it” strategy.

Sources at Government House revealed that at the meeting, the CCSA discussed the idea that Covid-19 may never be fully eradicated. The agency decided to set a course that aims for a happy medium between fighting the spread of the virus and allowing people to live with it and restart their normal lives, in hopes of beginning economic recovery as the nation struggles.

The Phuket Sandbox and Samui Plus schemes that reopened the tourist islands to international travellers are being held up as primary models for the in-between balance. The CCSA says that the cautious reopening like has been done on those 2 islands set the example for other Sandbox reopenings planned for the coming months, and eventually for the whole country.

They propose a reopening that gives some freedom back to the people of Thailand and those wishing to come here, but still adheres to the DMHTTT model the government has been pushing:

  • Distancing
  • Mask-wearing
  • Hand-washing
  • Temperature checking
  • Thai Chana app for contact tracing

Aside from the “learn to live with it” strategy of relaxing restrictions and encouraging people to be cautious, PM Prayut sees supporting the development of fully domestic vaccines as a major priority. While Siam Bioscience is producing vaccines in Bangkok, they are only a licensed production facility producing AstraZeneca vaccines on behalf of the foreign brand.

Thailand currently has several vaccines in development, including a subunit protein vaccine and even a nasal spray. But ChulaCOV-19, an mRNA vaccine developed by the Faculty of Medicine at Chulalongkorn University, might be the most promising candidate now. The first phase of human trials was successful and they are on track to register for emergency use next April.

PM Prayut has vowed to expedite funding to support vaccine development and has made vaccine self-sufficiency a key part of the public health development agenda by developing and producing the vaccines domestically.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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