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Government forging ahead with mixed vaccines, amid doubts and confusion

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PHOTO: Bangkok Metropolitan Administration

The Thai government plans to go ahead with a proposal to combine vaccines from different manufacturers, in an effort to boost immunity against the Delta variant. The move comes after a World Health Organisation scientist warned against the practice, raising concerns among the Thai public.

Following reports that PM Prayut Chan-o-cha was questioning the decision, government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri has issued a statement to clarify the PM’s position.

According to the Bangkok Post, Anucha says the PM is not against combining vaccines, but has called for a detailed study of the policy. His comments follow a warning from WHO chief scientist, Soumya Swaminathan, who says data is needed on both the safety and efficacy of the practice.

“Individuals should not decide for themselves, public health agencies can, based on available data. Data from mix and match studies of different vaccines are awaited – immunogenicity and safety both need to be evaluated.”

However, the Bangkok Post reports that prominent Thai virologist, Yong Poovorawan, insists that a study carried out in Thailand shows that administering Sinovac as a first dose, followed by AstraZeneca as a second dose, provides greater immunity and protection against the highly-contagious Delta variant.

Both the CoronaVac vaccine from Sinovac Biotech and the AstraZeneca vaccine are ‘old style’ vaccines that work in a similar way to stimulate the body’s natural immune system. The Moderna and Pfizer mRNA vaccines are a new technology which achieve the same result but in an entirely different way.

Anucha says the PM is not against the proposal and is calling for all sides of the debate to listen to the advice from the National Communicable Disease Committee.

“The prime minister has no policy to stop the mixing of doses. He asks that all sides be receptive to the view of the National Communicable Disease Committee about cross-doses and that they make careful consideration.”

Anucha adds that the priority now is for more people to be vaccinated, in order to reduce daily new infections and deaths, as the Delta variant becomes more dominant. Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul says the NCDC has decided that following a first dose of Sinovac with AstraZeneca will provide more protection against the Delta variant.

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SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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