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Growing calls for healthcare workers to get Pfizer booster



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A leaked document, which details the minutes of a meeting in which officials discussed how they would allocate the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, has caused uproar and led to calls for healthcare workers to be prioritised. The Bangkok Post reports that the meeting took place on June 30 and discussed the administration of 2 batches of the Pfizer vaccine.

The first allocation consists of 1.5 million doses that are expected to arrive this month. It’s believed the doses have been donated by the US government, but officials have not confirmed this. In addition, a further 20 million doses have been purchased by the government, but are not expected to arrive until the last quarter of the year.

At the June 30 meeting, officials suggested that the doses would firstly be reserved for young people between the ages of 12 and 18. Second in line are risk groups such as the elderly and pregnant women in areas with high infection rates. Finally, the third group is healthcare workers, who could be given Pfizer as a booster dose.

However, one notable comment, recorded in the leaked minutes, has gone viral online, as it argues against offering Pfizer to healthcare workers. The comment suggests that officials acknowledge the low efficacy of the Sinovac vaccine, which has been widely administered to the country’s healthcare workers.

“At present, if it (Pfizer vaccine) is administered on the third group, it is tantamount to admitting that Sinovac vaccine offers no protection. This will make it harder to defend it.”

As the Delta variant makes inroads into the Kingdom, already accounting for over half the infections in Bangkok, it’s been reported that doctors and other medical workers who’ve received 2 doses of Sinovac have since contracted the virus, with some of them seriously ill.

The Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, has admitted that the leaked memo is real, but insists no decision has been made on how the Pfizer doses will be allocated.

The slow pace of the national vaccine rollout, and the government’s insistence on only procuring Sinovac and AstraZeneca, have led to high demand for vaccines such a Pfizer and Moderna, which are widely seen as more effective. Despite the government offering being free, millions of Thais are willing to pay for the mRNA vaccines.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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