Medical expert calls on Thais to trust vaccines and help control Covid-19

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The dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Siriraj Hospital is calling on Thai people to have faith in Covid-19 vaccines and cooperate with efforts to halt the spread of the virus. Dr. Prasit Watanapa was speaking during a Facebook Live broadcast, saying Thailand needs to build up herd immunity if the virus is to be suppressed. With over 100 million people now vaccinated worldwide, Prasit used his broadcast to update Thais on results so far.

He says early findings give cause for optimism, with a decrease in the number of new cases and less harmful side-effects from vaccines. A number of countries have now embarked on huge vaccination programmes, with Israel leading the way. The US has so far vaccinated nearly 7% of its population, the UK has vaccinated nearly 13%, while Israel has vaccinated a massive 34% of its population to date.

Prasit says the rate of new infections in the UK has dropped from over 62,300 cases on January 6 to 18,000 currently. The country began its vaccine rollout on December 8. The US started its inoculation programme on December 14 and the average daily rate of infection has now dropped from over 265,000 on January 6 to 107,816 at the end of January.

“It is not yet clear that the decrease is linked to the vaccines’ efficiency but analysis shows that the vaccines have produced non-harmful side-effects, so they are quite safe. Thai people should not be reluctant to have the vaccines. We need to create herd immunity to improve our social and economic growth. If we need to have more tourism activity, we need to have vaccines en masse by the end of this year and the government is working on that.”

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Prasit’s view is that at least 60% of the Thai population will need to be vaccinated in order for the country to achieve herd immunity.

Thailand was expected to begin the rollout of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine this month, but it’s understood a row between the EU and the manufacturer over exports to countries outside of the EU may affect its plan to take delivery of 35 million doses imminently. The Kingdom has also signed a technology-transfer agreement for Siam Bioscience to produce the AstraZeneca jab locally. Production is expected to begin later this year. The country is also expecting 2 million doses of the Chinese Sinovac vaccine.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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