Health officials call for more elderly Thais to get their Covid-19 boosters

PHOTO: UNHCR/Morgane Roussel Hemery

According to the Department of Disease Control, around 6 million elderly Thais have yet to receive a booster dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. Dr. Taweesap Siraprapasiri says the reason for this is that people are either worried about potential side-effects or they feel they don’t need a booster. However, he adds that 43% of elderly people have received 3 doses, whereas only 40% of other age groups have done so.

Thai PBS World reports Taweesap as saying that if the country wants to open up further to international arrivals, and doesn’t want to see hospitals overcrowded with severely ill Covid patients, it’s vital more elderly people get their booster. He adds that the combination of vaccines is not important, as they all protect against severe symptoms, whether the formula is 2 Sinovac and 1 AstraZeneca or 2 AstraZeneca and 1 Pfizer.

To illustrate his point, Taweesap cites data from the Public Health Ministry, which looked at the severity of Omicron infections in vaccinated people between January and March. The data was compiled with the help of 500,000 people vaccinated with either 2, 3, or 4 vaccine doses.

– 2 doses of a Covid vaccine were shown to be the least effective against contracting Omicron, but 75% effective at preventing severe illness requiring ventilators
– 3 doses were shown to be 15% effective at preventing Omicron infection and 93% effective at preventing severe illness requiring ventilators
– 4 doses were shown to be 76% effective at preventing Omicron infection and 99% effective at preventing severe illness requiring ventilators

Taweesap says the Covid-19 vaccines administered in Thailand are both safe and effective, pointing out that there have been no deaths reported among people who’ve received 4 doses of a Covid vaccine. He adds that as the virus will never be eradicated, it’s vital people take the necessary steps to live with it safely.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Maya Taylor

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