The Department of Disease Control has confirmed the arrival of the first shipment of Pfizer vaccines to be administered to children aged 5 to 11. The lot of 300,000 Covid-19 vaccines arrived in Thailand today, with vaccinations scheduled to begin on January 31.
The first round of vaccines will be given to those children considered high-risk due to having one of the 7 underlying medical conditions the Thai government has flagged. Those conditions included cancer, diabetes, obesity, respiratory disease, and coronary heart disease.
This first batch of 300,000 vaccines is part of a total order of 3.5 million Pfizer doses scheduled to be sent to Thailand in the first quarter of 2022. Similar shipments are expected to be received every week until the order is complete.
With the commencement of vaccinations on Monday, Thailand will become the second country in Asia to administer the Pfizer vaccine to young children, following only Singapore.
The doses that will be given to children are not the same as those provided to adults. Each vial has 1.3 millilitres of the concentrated Pfizer vaccine which is diluted with an equal amount of 0.9% sodium chloride solution. Then each vial contains enough serum to administer to 10 children. Children will receive two doses at least 3 weeks apart, or a maximum of 12 weeks apart.
This lesser, diluted formula, has several advantages. Side effects are rarer and less intense, usually lasting one to 2 days, and mainly consisting of tiredness, headaches, muscle aches, fever, chills, and swelling or redness where they received the vaccine. The children’s formula can also be stored between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius for up to 10 weeks after being removed from the ultracold storage.
The Food and Drug Administration in Thailand has only approved Pfizer for young children after real-world studies around the world have shown it to be safe. The diluted dosage is about one-third the strength of that given to adults.
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