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Government adjusts timing of second dose as hospitals run low on AstraZeneca

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Facebook/ อนุทิน ชาญวีรกูล (Public Health Minister)

The Thai government says the second dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine can be administered 16 weeks after the first, instead of the standard 10 weeks. Officials insist the delay won’t have any negative impact, as reports circulate that hospitals are running out of AstraZeneca doses.

Both Chulabhorn and Vachira hospitals have confirmed they are suspending inoculation with AstraZeneca indefinitely due to insufficient supply.

Despite reports of supplies running low, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha fortunately managed to get his second dose of AstraZeneca, 10 weeks after the first, in line with previous guidelines. The Bangkok Post reports that the PM received his second dose at Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute yesterday.

Kiattiphum Wongrajit from the Public Health Ministry says the guidelines for the administration of the second dose of vaccine are being tweaked as a result of the latest outbreak, with the focus now being on as many people as possible getting a first dose. He says people who receive their first dose in June will receive the second around October, adding that another 3 million doses of the Chinese vaccine, Sinovac, will arrive next month.

His colleague, Rungrueng Kitphati, admits that some hospitals have run out of AstraZeneca due to high demand, but insists the public can have confidence in the government rollout. However, he also cautions that those who received a first dose of AstraZeneca should not receive Sinovac as their second dose. He says people must complete their inoculation using the same vaccine for both doses.

In an attempt to reassure the public, Rungrueng adds that a single dose of a Covid-19 vaccine is enough to protect against infection, serious illness, and death. According to him, the second dose is just a booster, aimed at prolonging immunity.

Meanwhile, the recently side-lined Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, has popped back up to say he’s confident doses of AstraZeneca will arrive on time next month. He insists there will be enough doses for the national rollout, which begins June 7.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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