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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Denmark becomes first country in Europe to ditch AstraZeneca vaccine

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Flickr

Denmark has announced that it is abandoning the AstraZeneca vaccine, the first European country to do so, amid concerns about very rare but serious blood clots. The rollout of the vaccine has run into problems in several countries, with its use either temporarily suspended or restricted to older age groups.

When concerns first arose over the vaccine’s rare side-effects, Denmark was the first country in Europe to suspend its use. In Thailand, use of the vaccine was suspended last month, before officials judged it safe to proceed, with Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul going on to confirm it would become the Kingdom’s primary Covid-19 vaccine.

Both the European drugs regulator and the World Health Organisation are standing by the jab, saying the benefits outweigh the risks. However, health officials in Denmark have now decided to ditch it for good.

“Denmark’s vaccination campaign will go ahead without the AstraZeneca vaccine.”

Denmark has reported 2 cases of thrombosis (blood clotting) linked to administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine, one of which proved fatal. The blood clot incidents arose after 140,000 people had received the jab. The Bangkok Post reports that 8% of Denmark’s 5.8 million inhabitants have been fully vaccinated and 17% have received their first dose.

The country plans to continue its rollout using the Modern and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. Officials say they are confident that the availability of other jabs, coupled with the fact that Covid-19 is relatively under control in Denmark, means the country’s mass inoculation can continue without issue.

Meanwhile, AstraZeneca has released a statement acknowledging the decision taken by Danish health authorities.

“We recognise and respect the decision taken by the Danish Health Authority. Implementation and rollout of the vaccine programme is a matter for each country to decide, based on local conditions. We will continue to collaborate with the regulators and local authorities to provide all available data to inform their decisions.”

SOURCE: Euro News | Bangkok Post

 

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Avatar

    John_2

    Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 10:52 am

    The J & J and AstraZeneca Vaccine have been stopped in many places, others are said to be ineffective against new strains. There is talk now of vaccine brand mixing one shot of one brand first, and another for the second. Thailand again is behind the curve dreaming that the vaccine is a fix all instead of adhering to their original policy of lockdowns and blocking tourism. I fear there will be a price to pay for the switch in policy.

  2. Avatar

    Geoff

    Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 12:35 pm

    Seems a bit extreme. What will they do if their other vax show a small problem as time passes? J & J already shows same. Knee jerk? Politics?

  3. Avatar

    Simon Small

    Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 12:47 pm

    With an apparent 10% efficacy against the S African and Brazil variants, why bother with AZ?

    It’s gone from looking like the vaccine of choice to being the one to avoid.

    • Avatar

      Isaan farang

      Friday, April 16, 2021 at 1:21 am

      Despite what you may see in the media headlines, to date, there is not a variant present that has escaped either disease- or vaccine- induced immunity (fully vaccinated being 14 days post second dose)

  4. Avatar

    richard barker

    Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 2:27 pm

    But Denmark only has a population of not quite 6 million. That being the case they would easily replace Astra Zeneca vaccine with something else. A country like Thailand has little chance of doing this. Need to get things in perspective. Some of these stories are there because they are newsworthy only and are unhelpful in convincing people to get the vaccine. Understand that news is news but !

  5. Avatar

    E

    Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 2:50 pm

    Some important notes about the decision:

    1. The rare side-effect of the AstraZeneca vaccine is not “regular” blood clots (which are typically seen from for example physical inactivity and a range of other factors), but a rare kind of blood clots that science had not documented until now, named VITT (Vaccine induced Thrombosis and Thrombocytopenia), which concurrently causes a low blood platelet count. VITT has an apparent fatality rate of 1 in 5 – and a significant impact on quality of life for those who survive. If treated like regular blood clots, the result can be fatal as well due to the low platelet count.

    2. Denmark and Norway cooperated in their analysis of the data and results. The report has not yet been made publicly available. According to the results, the risk of VITT were 1 in 40.000 vaccinations based on data from both countries, but there is a large uncertainty due to the rarity of VITT and limited sample size. The decision is however based on that data.

    3. Denmark has already vaccinated most of its elderly and high-risk population. Due to this and the low amount of sars-cov-2 infections in the country at the moment, the risk of fatalities from covid-19 due to not using the AstraZeneca vaccine (thereby delaying the overall vaccine rollout by a few weeks) is currently lower than the risk of VITT. If the amount of infections in Denmark rises significantly, it may be necessary to include the vaccine in the programme again.

  6. Avatar

    Alan

    Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 3:18 pm

    Just 2 cases !
    Probably a higher percentage got thrombosis while flying SAS

  7. Avatar

    Ray

    Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 3:55 pm

    Yes, Denmark can afford to do this because of the small population. The risk of dying from blood cloth complications only occurs in women younger than sixty and is less than being struck by lightning. The risk of dying of Covid-19 is much much higher. Just because there are other vaccines and some governments want to be re-elected they are ditching AZ all together. The ultimate balance will be that because of the delay there will be more deaths and economic damage done.

  8. Avatar

    TS

    Friday, April 16, 2021 at 7:58 am

    so right now its sino vacc only in Thailand?

  9. Avatar

    TS

    Friday, April 16, 2021 at 1:43 pm

    just read-their going ahead with AZ as the main vacc

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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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