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Stop buying Sinovac, medical expert tells government

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PHOTO: Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration

The head of the intensive care unit at Bangkok’s Vichaiyut Hospital says the government must stop purchasing the Sinovac vaccine until it’s been re-formulated to handle variants. According to a Bangkok Post report, respiratory disease expert Manoon Leechawengwongs says Sinovac may be effective at reducing the chance of serious illness and death, but that effectiveness wears off over time.

The Thai government recently decided to purchase another 10.9 million Sinovac doses at a cost of 1.6 billion baht. Manoon says Thailand must suspend such purchases until there is a new generation of Sinovac that can provide effective protection against all Covid-19 variants. Without this, he says healthcare workers continue to be put at risk of infection. Once they become infected, they can spread the virus to other workers and to their patients. The risks also require healthcare workers to quarantine, leading to a staffing crisis at hospitals.

Despite Manoon’s warning, Watcharapong Khuwijitsuwan from the Public Health Ministry insists the Sinovac vaccine is effective, pointing out that the World Health Organisation is using it in the Covax scheme, which aims to deliver equal access to Covid-19 vaccines globally. Watcharapong adds that research in Malaysia shows Sinovac is just as effective as mRNA vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna, a point disputed by many. However, Watcharapong insists research from the Health Ministry shows Sinovac to be 75% effective against the highly-contagious Delta variant.

Watcharapong goes on to say Thailand is in the process of obtaining many different types of vaccines, but they can’t all be delivered when needed and that it’s best to have as wide a choice as possible.

“It is best to have as many vaccines as possible. Waiting for the one that we like may not help us fight the spread.”

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SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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