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Experts say a choice in Covid-19 vaccines will help boost immunity against variants



A choice in Covid-19 vaccines is being touted by health experts as a way to help protect against virus variants. Such experts are calling on the Thai government to include a variety of brands in its national vaccination drive after the South African variant was discovered in the South last Saturday. The B.1.351 variant is thought to be the most resistant to current vaccines.

Dr. Yong, the head of the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology at Chulalongkorn University says learning from Europe and the US means that vaccines must be administered quickly to the masses. Yong noted that only about 2% of Thais have received vaccine shots, warning that 70% of the population should be inoculated within the next 4 months to combat the spread of the virus effectively.

“Blanket vaccinations must be launched to cover as many people as possible, using the AstraZeneca vaccine which is already at our disposal, followed by second shots. We should also try to buy vaccines from other producers because it is necessary to constantly boost immune responses.”

He also stressed the importance of studying the possibility of changing Covid vaccines.

“A vaccinee [sic] who experienced side-effects from the first shot may have to be vaccinated with another type of vaccine. In the future, when vaccines from several producers arrive and we want to further boost immune responses of people who have already received two shots, how can this be done? This must be studied in the country.”

Manop Pithukpakorn, head of the Centre of Research Excellence and Precision Medicine at Siriraj Hospital, is worried about the B.1.351 variant making its appearance in the country.

“Let’s pray it will not spread to the capital because the only vaccine that is effective against this strain is Pfizer’s, with its efficacy rate of 75% [and probably Moderna], while the J&J vaccine is at 64-66%, and AstraZeneca at 10.4%.”

“As for Sinovac, considering the level of immune response [it triggers] after the shot, it is not expected to be effective against the mutated strain.”

“It is time for the government to change its policy and speed up the import of Pfizer, Moderna and J&J vaccines to ensure enough supplies for all Thais.”

Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of the Department of Disease Control, said yesterday that 9 villages in tambon Koh Sathon, Narathiwat province, were locked down after the South African variant was found in 3 people. After investigating, the DDC found that a Malaysian woman who crossed into Thailand illegally, brought the strain between April 12 and May 4.

So far, the 3 that are known to have been infected with the variant have made full recoveries.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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