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Health Ministry requests more info on Chinese vaccine after effectiveness rate revised down

Maya Taylor

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Health Ministry requests more info on Chinese vaccine after effectiveness rate revised down | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Hakan Nural for UnSplash
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Thailand’s Public Health Ministry has called for more information from the makers of the Chinese Covid-19 vaccine, after its effectiveness rating was revised downwards by researchers in Brazil. The Sinovac Biotech jab was originally confirmed as 78% effective in trials in the South American country, but that has now changed to just over 50%.

The research team at Brazil’s Butantan Institute say the discrepancy is a result of the higher rate not including patients who recorded “very mild” symptoms and did not need any medical treatment. They insist the vaccine is still 78% effective in preventing mild cases that do need treatment and 100% effective at preventing moderate to serious infections.

Meanwhile, Supakit Sirilak from Thailand’s Department of Medical Sciences says the government still plans to take delivery of 2 million doses of the vaccine, starting with 200,000 next month. The next shipment of 800,000 doses will arrive by the end of March, followed by the final shipment of 1 million doses by the end of April. Medical workers, healthcare volunteers and elderly and other “high risk” groups will be prioritised to receive the vaccine. In total, the ministry hopes to vaccinate 70% of the population with the goal of achieving herd immunity.

Supakit says Sinovac Biotech has already been sent a request for additional information on the efficacy and safety of the vaccine, which he says is in line with the Food and Drug Administration approval process.

“We are waiting for answers, but please understand that the vaccine’s efficacy is only at an initial stage after mass human trials. The confirmed result might take about a year or 1 and a half years. Sinovac has applied traditional technology, using killed viral particles to create the body’s immune system.”

Supakit says around 100,000 medical workers and military staff have already received the Chinese vaccine, without any adverse effects being reported, pointing out that other vaccines may not be received until later in the year. The government is expected to take delivery of 26 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine by mid-2021.

“That is the factor that we have seriously thought about, whether we can wait until that time. We have relied on the World Health Organisation suggestion that 50% efficiency is enough for emergency use. We are still committed to the original plan to get the vaccine by next month.”

The government has also given the nod to local administrations who wish to purchase their own vaccine supplies, provided the jabs have FDA approval. The local administrative organisation in the southern province of Yala is calling on local bodies to obtain their own vaccine supplies. The mayor of Nakhon Yala, Pongsak Yingchoncharoen, says his local authority is budgeting 100 million baht to buy enough doses for 70,000 residents. The mayor of Nakhon Nonthaburi municipality, Somnuek Thanadechakul, has also confirmed a plan to buy vaccines and is budgeting 260 million baht for procurement.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Issan John

    Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 11:29 am

    The problem isn’t so much if “the vaccine is still 78% effective in preventing mild cases that do need treatment and 100% effective at preventing moderate to serious infections”, which if true is more than good enough for me and I’d be more than happy with, but is if anything the manufacturers (Sinovac) and China say can still be believed after all the smoke and mirrors have been removed.

    This isn’t the same sort of “mistake” as AstraZeneca where the results of different large trials were averaged out, but it’s the wholesale fudging of trials that were already inadequate according to industry norms and then fudged again.

    … and ‘so what’ if “around 100,000 medical workers and military staff have already received the Chinese vaccine, without any adverse effects being reported”, even if that’s true?

    Medical workers are generally younger, fitter and healthier than the general population, and the military HAVE to be a lot younger, fitter and healthier – it’s a job requirement, FFS!

    They’re NOT the same as the “elderly and other high risk groups”.

    Surely that’s obvious???

  2. Avatar

    Joe

    Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 12:45 pm

    Issan John, what’s the matter with you today?, you are not toeing the government line that this vaccine is good, are you feeling unwell?

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 1:15 pm

      I’ve made similar comments about the vaccine before, as I have about the government and anything else here I disagree with. Frequently.

      I’ve always thought that if you blindly criticise everything, regardless of whether it’s done well or badly but just because of who’s doing it, then it’s a bit crying “Wolf”. Others take a different view.

  3. Avatar

    Anonymous

    Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 1:01 pm

    If China’s economy is still able to function (and even grow) with the pandemic while the rest of the world economies are compromised, then there is zero motivation for China to produce an effective vaccine. In fact the logic according to many in the Chinese govt is that if the current world situation ultimately benefits China more than not, then it is not only not beneficial but mandatory to produce a non-effective vaccine. This is not seen as ‘morally void’ but as simple strategic necessity; its not ‘why would you ever do that?’, but rather ‘if you are truly patriotic then why wouldn’t you?’. By this perspective, gaining any advantage over your adversaries (by ANY means) is not viewed as an ethical issue in any context. Rather it is a demonstration of superior cultural strength and intellectual fortitude.

    I was a consultant to an American company that wanted to do a one-time production deal with Chinese manufacturers. They only needed to make one large production of a fixed number of items without making further production runs after. The Chinese manufacturer simply made initial samples of high quality and then when the funds were paid made the production run using much lesser quality materials because it was a great financial gain for them and for China. The result was a complete failure of the product which was only licensed for the USA market when quality levels were hopelessly inadequate, and the USA company went bankrupt very quickly. When the US company took legal action it had to be done in China and the ultimate result was they were simply informed that ‘executives in that manufacturing industry had been disciplined and removed from positions’. There was some mention that the officers of the US company should have known that their production approach would naturally lead to the destruction of their business; ‘they should have been smarter and take more personal responsibility for failure’.

  4. Avatar

    Bobby M

    Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 1:55 pm

    Mmmmmm.

    I understand Brazil have announced a new strain of the virus. Also discovered in Japan in travellers from Brazil.

    Is it that the new strain is is resistant to the Chinese vaccine ?

    Could the Chinese vaccine be responsible?

    From The Mail Online

    All travel from Brazil will be banned today to stop the spread of a new virus strain.

    It is understood ministers will today consider imposing a complete ban on flights and visitors for the whole of South America to tackle the Brazil variant. This would mirror beefed-up restrictions brought in for South Africa due to its mutant strain.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 2:35 pm

      Not sure about the new strain, but this can’t be connecetd to it as it’s just a review of the old data from the trials, not new data.

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Bangkok

Chatuchak market is in worst crisis in 5 decades due to Covid-19, vendors say

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Chatuchak market is in worst crisis in 5 decades due to Covid-19, vendors say | The Thaiger
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Chatuchak Weekend Market, Bangkok’s biggest market and a popular tourist destination, is hit hard by the new wave of Covid-19. With the lack of foreign tourists due to travel restrictions over the past year, as well as more locals staying at home despite the market’s strict disease control measures, the number of visitors at the market has dropped by 90%.

Vendors at the market say this is the worst situation in 50 years. Most of them report no sales at all. With little to no income, many shops at the market have shut down. Although the BMA is trying to relieve the situation by lowering the rental fees by half, that seems not enough to help the business. Some of the vendors have tried online trading, but sales are still low.

SOURCE: Thai Visa

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Thailand

Hotline set up for reports on alleged Covid-19 measure violations

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Hotline set up for reports on alleged Covid-19 measure violations | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Campus Star

The government is now encouraging people to help report activities deemed to violate the government’s rules and regulations to curb the spread of Covid-19 by calling the national hotline at 1111. People can report on any violations set by the Emergency Decree, which has been in place since last year and extended numerous times to combat the coronavirus.

The government says people can call the hotline for major violations, like labour trafficking across Thailand’s porous border with Myanmar, which is said to have led to the new wave of infections affecting a large migrant community in Samut Sakhon. People can also phone in the hotline for minor violations, even like gatherings that don’t abide by disease control measures.

According to the government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri, hundreds of citizens were reported violating the Covid-19 restriction measures and laws despite the Emergency Decree.

The hotline is open for the report of the alleged Covid-19 violations and also general complaints related to Covid-19 situations. All complaints and reports are expected to be fully investigated by agencies in charge and all information of callers will be kept confidential. Service for English speakers is available upon request.

Since being set up, the hotline has received a total of 32,008 inquiries and general questions so far.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

First phase of Thailand’s Covid-19 vaccinations to start on February 14

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First phase of Thailand’s Covid-19 vaccinations to start on February 14 | The Thaiger
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The government plans to begin Thailand’s 3-phase vaccination plan on February 14, starting with healthcare and frontline workers as well as vulnerable groups.

At the Covid-19 vaccination administration subcommittee meeting today, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said the first phase of inoculations starting next month will target 19,014,154 Thai people in 4 priority groups…

  • 1,700,000 health workers in both public and private health care sectors.
  • 6,163,095 populations with underlying conditions.
  • 11,136,059 people aged over 60 years
  • Covid-19 task force who are in close contact with infected patients.

The vaccine availability remains limited and only target groups who are at high risk of infection will be vaccinated during the first phase of the vaccination plan, according to permanent secretary of public health Kiattiphum Wongrajit. The vaccines will be free and are not compulsory, Anutin says.

The AstraZeneca vaccine, developed in partnership with Oxford University, was approved by the Thai government for emergency last week. The first batch of 50,000 doses are expected to arrive next month. Thailand also expects 200,000 doses of China’s Sinovac Biotech vaccine to arrive next month. The Chinese vaccine is expected to be approved by Thai drug regulators within the next 3 weeks.

The second phase of the 3-part plan is scheduled to run from May to December, offering vaccinations in all regions. Thai officials aim to have at least 50% of the Thai population vaccinated by the end of the year. The final phase will be rolled out in January 2022, with the goal to have enough vaccines to distribute to create herd immunity.

The government is also launched a Line Official Account called “Mor Prom”, translated as “doctor’s ready” to facilitate the vaccination administration. People can register to make appointments for vaccination, while health authorities can monitor the adverse effects of the vaccines. The platform is expected to launch on February 12 to serve the health workers before opening to the public in April.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post| Thairath online

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