Lawyers Association accuse DDC failure over Sinovac

PHOTO: Lawyers Association of Thailand speak out against the government's reliance on Sinovac. (via Thai News PRD)

The chairman of the Lawyers Association of Thailand has said the government has failed its duty to protect the health of the Thai people by ordering more Sinovac vaccines instead of pursuing brands more effective against the Delta variant of Covid-19 fast becoming the dominant strain in Thailand.

The accusation comes as the Department of Disease Control defends Thailand’s Cabinet’s decision to purchase 10.9 million more Sinovac vaccines despite studies showing the efficacy of the Chinese vaccine greatly reduced against the Delta variant.

The government has a constitutional obligation to provide efficient healthcare services to the people, according to the chairman of the group of lawyers, and reinvestment in an ineffective vaccine instead of pursuing vaccines that protect more against the Delta variant is a dereliction of duty. He suggests that the government’s course of action causes damage to the nation and the people of Thailand and goes against the constitutional charter.

The DDC’s Director of Emergencies, Health Hazards and Diseases refutes the Lawyers Association assertions, arguing that Sinovac may be less effective in Delta variant infections, but has still proven worth in preventing hospitalizations and death. Furthermore and importantly, it’s also available much more quickly than other vaccines. Thailand’s vaccine rollout was so slow out of the gates that by the time they looked at purchasing the more effective Moderna, Pfizer, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine, countries had placed huge orders and vaccines contracted now wouldn’t begin to arrive until October.

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The director cites studies including one in Indonesia showing efficacy was 94% in preventing symptomatic infections, 96% in preventing hospitalization, and 98% in preventing death. Another in Brazil found 80% against symptomatic infections, 86% against hospitalization and 95% against death. Chile found it 89% effective against severe symptoms.

In Thailand, it was found nearly 91% effective in preventing infections in a Phuket study and about 83% effective in Chiang Rai. He admits the studies were done as the Alpha variant swept Thailand, but he believes Sinovac will be at least somewhat as effective on other variants including the Delta variant.

While Sinovac seems not to be as effective at preventing the spread of the Delta strain of Covid-19 as the lawyers argue, it does seem to be a powerful defence against death and hospitalisation, which could still be a vital aid in overcrowded hospitals and keep the damage done by Covid-19 outbreaks minimized. But is it enough, or is the government throwing good money – reportedly 6.1 billion baht for the 10.9 million more vaccines – after bad?

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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