Medic says Covid-19 will not be endemic while low vaccination can spark a new wave

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The dean of Mahidol University’s Faculty of Medicine says Covid-19 is still capable of triggering a fresh wave and that more people must get vaccinated to counteract this. Dr Prasit Watanapa says while everyone now wants to see an end to the pandemic, Thailand is not yet at the stage where it can declare the virus endemic.

Prasit was speaking during a Facebook Live session run by Siriraj Hospital. He says the only way to protect the country from future waves of the virus is to fully vaccinate people to reduce the number of severely ill patients and the death rate. According to Prasit, Thailand now finds itself at a critical point in its pandemic journey, with restrictions being eased for inbound visitors.

“This is a critical point. Several countries are still battling infections. Measures to stimulate the economy and bring in money could bring back Covid-19. So, we must mitigate the risks by focusing on prevention and treatment. It is best to vaccinate people and give boosters (for full protection).”

According to a Bangkok Post report, the medic says there are still over 2 million unvaccinated Thais, while only around 10% have received their first dose. He says the global decline in Covid-related deaths reported last Friday can be attributed to both an increase in vaccination and the milder Omicron variant.

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Prasit adds that how quickly a country can declare the virus endemic will depend on vaccination rates in that country. He says that while Thailand transitions from the pandemic to endemic phase, inoculation remains essential, in particular for those in high-risk groups. However, he adds that just because a disease is endemic doesn’t mean it’s harmless, pointing out that malaria is endemic, but still kills around 400,000 people every year.

In discussing the planned easing of entry restrictions for international arrivals, Prasit says this should only apply to fully vaccinated visitors who received their booster doses no more than 3 months prior to arrival. Those who do not meet this criteria should be tested on arrival and quarantined.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Maya Taylor

A seasoned writer, with a degree in Creative Writing. Over ten years' experience in producing blog and magazine articles, news reports and website content.

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