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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

South Africa stalls AstraZeneca vaccine campaign after trial found “minimal protection” against new strain

Caitlin Ashworth

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South Africa stalls AstraZeneca vaccine campaign after trial found “minimal protection” against new strain | The Thaiger
PHOTO: AstraZeneca

South Africa’s rollout of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine has been put on pause following reports that it only provides “minimal protection” for the new strain of the virus first detected in South Africa. The country will continue plans to administer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The AstraZeneca vaccine, developed in partnership with Oxford University, only provides limited protection against the mild variant of Covid-19 detected in South Africa known as B.1.351, according to early data from a trial. South Africa Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize says immunisations using the AstraZeneca vaccine would be put on hold while scientists review the vaccine.

The study was done on 2,000 volunteers who were an average age of 31. Half the group received the vaccine and half received a placebo. A news release from the University of the Witwatersand Johannesburg said researchers found that viral neutralisation by the vaccine against the B.1.351 variant was substantially reduced when compared with the original strain. Researchers did not study the vaccine’s protection against moderate to severe infections.

An AstraZeneca spokesperson says the company is “working closely with the South African Ministry of Health on how best to support the evaluation against severe disease of the B.1.351 variant, and start to bring this vaccine to the South African people should it prove to be successful.”

Thailand has secured 61 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. With export restrictions imposed by the European Union, the company plans to send a batch of 150,000 doses of its Covid-19 vaccine to Thailand from a factory in Asia, due to arrive in March or April.

SOURCES: CNN | Wits University

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19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Avatar

    dispensed

    Monday, February 8, 2021 at 12:10 pm

    Cross-reactive immunity with other coronaviruses that cause the common cold has been proven to protect against Sarscov2 in many cases. This is the main reason the West is already reaping the benefits of herd immunity despite only 20-30% of the population being infected, though the media would never acknowledge it. It’s probably also the reason the virus never catches on in East Asia.

    If there’s cross reactive immunity with other coronaviruses, I expect the same for different strains of SarsCov2

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Monday, February 8, 2021 at 1:08 pm

      Who has it been “proven” by, dispensed?

      I see there’s no shortage of studies, but I must have missed those saying anything was “proven”.

      I’m a bit confused by how “the West is already reaping the benefits of herd immunity despite only 20-30% of the population being infected.”

      What “benefits of herd immunity” has the West had?

      Hasn’t the West had a pretty high proportion of the numbers affected, hospitalised and dead?

      … and I’m even more confused by why “It’s probably also the reason the virus never catches on in East Asia.” Do people have more colds in China, Japan,Taiwan and Korea than, say, India or the US or Brazil, so they’re more immune to Covid-19?

      • Avatar

        Toby Andrews

        Monday, February 8, 2021 at 11:48 pm

        You see you are asking all these question. if you dispute these assertion from Dispensed prove they are wrong!

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at 12:18 am

          Toby, I’m not interested in “proving they are wrong” any more than I’m interested in proving the moon isn’t made of cheese.

          Dispensed has claimed the points as “proven” so I’m simply asking him who they’re “proven” by.

          I don’t think that’s unreasonable.

          If they’re “proven” then I’ll have learnt something and be considerably better informed, as others may be too.

          If it turns out they’re not “proven”, on the other hand, then I’ll have learnt something else – or at least had it confirmed.

  2. Avatar

    gosport

    Monday, February 8, 2021 at 3:29 pm

    Well, It is getting worse now. We need more rice to export. Rice price will be going up. Seems every continent has its own unique variant. The tourism industry sees no future.

  3. Avatar

    Bobby M

    Monday, February 8, 2021 at 3:35 pm

    This article is missing what seems to to be a very important fact, unless things have changed overnight or the western media have got it wrong.

    The reporting here is saying that AV is less effective against the more mild version of the South African virus but continues to protect against the more severe reactions to the virus preventing hospitalisation and death.

    Ok you may become infected, you may suffer some symptoms, but not severe. Why would you stop the rollout of something that still protects you from the severe effects of a virus and prevents your health system from collapsing. It doesn’t make sense and if what we are being told in the West is accurate, this editorial is inaccurate, damaging and could end up with people putting themselves at risk of an unnecessary severe infection reaction, hospitalisation and even death.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at 12:24 am

      FWIW, what’s reported here is exactly what’s being reported in mainstream Western Media, from DW to France 24, as well as Al Jazeera, etc.

      S Africa has halted the roll out, but not returned the vaccines (due to expire in April). Their choice, and I doubt it was made on the basis of this editorial.

  4. Avatar

    Jim kelly

    Monday, February 8, 2021 at 7:59 pm

    Guys.. come on…wake up, small the coffee! this is just another ‘virus’. Deal with it!! i refuse to wear a mask throughout the whole pandemic! my “human right” choice!! Not selfish.. just MY CHOICE!! This whole thing is aimed at the rich and powerful regaining control of the world’s population… BY INSTILLING “FEAR!”…. OF DEATH! It’s a FACT that most of these fatalities would have died of their underlying illness befoire contracting this ‘common cold’. “OH, HE HAS HIV BUT DIED IN HOSPITAL AS A RESULT OF GETTING COVID!” OK… THEN LET’S RECORD HIM AS A COVID 19 DEATH! It’s total balls… HIV was the killer..not covid!
    Why the hell the world doesn’t wake up to this is beyond me. STOP BEING FRIGHTENED…It’s the media and government’s aim to scare the living S@#T out of you…AND IT’S WORKING! BUT NOT ME!!!

    • Avatar

      Gosport

      Monday, February 8, 2021 at 8:15 pm

      Why not try to get it yourself to be the trailblazer?

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at 12:33 am

        Great idea, Gosport.

        Maybe, just to show how much he’s “not selfish” he could go and help out in a hospital Covid ward, and explain to all those with relatives there now dying of HIV, cancer, diabetes and heart conditions that they were going to die anyway and that all the doctors have told them “total balls”.

        I’m sure they’d be suitably impressed.

    • Avatar

      Toby Andrews

      Monday, February 8, 2021 at 11:53 pm

      I agree the chances of dying of this virus in Thailand as an infected person is .38 percent.
      Is that a risk that justifies Thailand going bankrupt?

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at 12:37 am

        Only “.38 percent” as long as the vast majority of cases are young, fit and healthy, as they have been due to the atypical demographic – but let’s not worry about that …

  5. Avatar

    Ben

    Monday, February 8, 2021 at 8:23 pm

    Jim, you better stay stateside in a small rural town and hide under your covers and not come out for fear of being controlled. Especially now since your choice for president has lost and can’t protect your rights. Your rant will not hunt in Asia. To many dead people to ignore.

    We’re dealing with a “novel” virus here which is not just another virus. The world is grappling with how to get back to normal by developing a tool kit to deal with this virus. There will be bumps along this road. This virus will mutate and we’ll tweek the vaccines to account for the mutation.

    When our tool kit provides some reasonably good level of protection we’ll return to a new normal. It’ll come sooner than people think but it won’t be perfect. I, for one, am glad we have some great scientists on our side to fight this battle.

  6. Avatar

    Jim kelly

    Monday, February 8, 2021 at 8:25 pm

    SOOOOO, moviNg swiftly on to other more important matters… pssstt, the price of fuel is rising! almost 26 baht per litre for 95!It appears Brent Crude is back to sixty dollars a barrel. Where did that come from?! Oh, Big fat Boris Johnson is struggling as prime minister with one critic saying he’s the worst PM the UK has ever had… worse than Maggie!!! In addition, “ONLINE lurning!”in schools across Thailand has been a complete failure and waste of student’s & teachers’s time! Some druggie beach dude just discovered a 10m baht pearl! the price to keep him away from the “Bangkok Hilton”? 10m baht I expect!… lastly, Pattaya and “Fu-cket” are destined to become “‘ghost cities” if we don’t get FARANG back!!! Ahhh, one last thing…almost forgot.. stupid me (!!) H2O Mineral water in BIG C has gone up in price from 9 baht to 13 baht per bottle!

    • Avatar

      Toby Andrews

      Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at 12:00 am

      Water up to 13 Baht a bottle OH MY GARD!
      However more important what is the price of a bottle of Singha in a bar in Pattaya?

  7. Avatar

    Jim kelly

    Monday, February 8, 2021 at 8:42 pm

    I’m sorry to say this Ben, but.. It’s your scare-mongering rhetoric and exaggeration of this common cold bug that is (No..HAS!!!!) CRIPPLED OUR FANTASTIC WORLD!!! People, like animals, die all the time…. that’s life and death. Millions upon millions die every year from much worse debilitating and painful illnesses! WE DON’T STOP THE WORLD FOR THOSE POOR VICTIMS!!!!!
    You have become just ‘another brick in the wall’ of all this fear and propaganda … like a sheep following the rest of the herd going to another corner of the field that just looks the same as the other 3 corners!!! I PITY YOU!!!

  8. Avatar

    Ian

    Monday, February 8, 2021 at 11:42 pm

    Jim Ben has good morals I gather from his posts but he doesn’t live in our real world people die people kill each other people are selfish people have hatred need I go on I’ve mentioned to Ben before we would love his world but it ain’t gonna happen anytime soon look over the border at Myanmar the world sucks and nobody is helping Myanmar they just let it happen sometimes I am glad I’m in England only sometimes 555

  9. Avatar

    common sense

    Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at 9:11 am

    Why do I have a feeling that this “new strain” is really a cover name for COVID20 and re-named not to raise any eyebrows from “normies” and lefties and sheople.
    The Wu Flu is BS

  10. Avatar

    Jim kelly

    Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at 10:21 pm

    Common Sense…. you’re so correct… THE “CHINESE VIRUS” IS B@$$ $H1T!”QUICK, QUICK!!! Get a mask!! OOOOOooo, ‘an wash your hands! Errrr? What’s my temperature?!!! Phew!!! I’m safe….until tomorrow!!”
    I can’t be doing with any of this!

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

OPINION – Vaccinating against Covid-19, why wouldn’t you?

The Thaiger

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OPINION – Vaccinating against Covid-19, why wouldn’t you? | The Thaiger

by Andrew J. Wood

The World Health Organisation not only advises that vaccines save millions of lives each year, but they also reduce transmissions. They and their partners are working together on tracking the pandemic, advising on critical interventions and distributing vital medical supplies to those in need, thereby reducing the number of infected people to transmit the virus.

Vaccines work by training and preparing the body’s natural defences — the immune system — to recognise and fight off the viruses they target. After vaccination, if the body is later exposed, the body is immediately ready to destroy them, preventing illness.

WHO states on its website…

“Since February 2021, at least seven different vaccines have been rolled out. Vulnerable populations in all countries are the highest priority for vaccination.

“It is understandable that some people may be concerned about getting vaccinated now that Covid-19 vaccines are available. While more Covid-19 vaccines are being developed as quickly as possible, routine processes and procedures remain in place to ensure the safety of any vaccine that is authorised or approved for use. Safety is a top priority, and there are many reasons to get vaccinated.”

One of the most frequent asked questions is can a Covid-19 vaccine make you sick with Covid-19? The simple answer is no, as none of the Covid-19 vaccines contain the live virus.

According to the USA’s Centre for Disease Control the benefits of getting a Covid-19 jab will help keep you from getting the virus. All Covid-19 vaccines currently available in the United States have been shown to be highly effective at preventing Covid-19.

“Based on what we know about vaccines for other diseases and early data from clinical trials, experts believe that getting a Covid-19 vaccine may also help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get Covid-19 and may also protect people around you, particularly people at increased risk.“

The CDC reminds us that wearing masks and social distancing help reduce the chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others, but these measures are not enough. Vaccines will work with your immune system so it will be ready to fight the virus if exposed.

Australia’s government says vaccination is the most effective way to protect against infectious diseases. Vaccines strengthen your immune system by training it to recognise and fight against specific viruses. They add that when you get vaccinated, you are protecting yourself and helping to protect the whole community by slowing down the spread of the disease. Achieving herd or social immunity is a long-term goal. It usually requires a large amount of the population to be vaccinated.

The CDC notes that people who have already had Covid-19 or tested positive may still benefit from getting the Covid-19 vaccination. There is not enough information currently available to say if or for how long people are protected from getting Covid-19 after they have had it (natural immunity). Early evidence suggests natural immunity from Covid-19 may not last very long, but more studies are needed to better understand this.

In Australia the government say that wearing a mask and physical distance is still important, “It may take time for everyone who wants a Covid-19 vaccination to get one. A vaccine that is 95% effective means that about 1 out of 20 people who get it may not have protection from getting the illness,” they advise online.

Some people never show symptoms so vaccinations are important. There is a common confusion between pre-symptomatic spread (people who spread the virus before showing symptoms) and asymptomatic spread (spreading the virus by someone who never shows any symptoms). The former is one of the hallmarks of the pandemic, the latter much less common. What is important to understand is that everyone agrees vaccines reduce transmission.

So why wouldn’t you take the vaccine that are tested to be safe and federally approved? I read comments like “it’s poison” and “does not work” on social media, but the science and three stage testing, prior to receiving government approval, dispel all that.

An Israeli study found that from 100 vaccinated patients, those who received both doses of the vaccine did not become carriers of the virus and cannot spread it further.

Israel is one of the most vaccinated countries in the world and has compiled comprehensive data.

A new study has also found a reduction in transmission rates even after the first dose. Those who test positive for Covid-19 showed that twelve or more days after taking the first dose have a viral load that’s four times lower than those who have not been vaccinated. Those receiving the vaccine became far less of a Covid transmission risk even before receiving their second dose.

Being less of a risk would allow more freedom to travel with significantly lower transmissions, especially when coupled with mask wearing, social distancing and frequent hand washing.

University Professor Cohen linked to the Israeli study and member of the official Health Ministry Advisory Committee on coronavirus vaccines, says…

“This shows that indeed, besides reducing symptoms and hopefully mortality, the vaccine may facilitate reaching some kind of herd immunity, allowing the partial protection of the weak or non-immunised.”

The question to open borders to vaccinated visitors is now looking more and more likely as the risk to do so is manageable.


ANDREW J WOOD

Andrew J Wood was born in Yorkshire England, he is a professional hotelier, Skalleague and travel writer. Andrew has 48 years of hospitality and travel experience. He is a hotel graduate of Napier University, Edinburgh. Andrew is a past Director of Skål International (SI), National President SI Thailand and is currently President of SI Bangkok and a VP of both SI Thailand and SI Asia. He is a regular guest lecturer at various Universities in Thailand including Assumption University’s Hospitality School and the Japan Hotel School in Tokyo.

The content of this article reflects the writer and does not necessarily reflect the editorial stance of The Thaiger.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

79 new cases today-COVID-19 Update

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79 new cases today-COVID-19 Update | The Thaiger

Today, the Thai government is reporting 79 new cases of Covid-19, with 65 locally-transmitted, and 14 imported, raising the total to 26,241 since the pandemic began. 1 new death has been reported, raising the total amount of deaths to 85. The new infections, which are now in the double-digits, shows Thailand’s Covid situation as improving according to the assistant spokeswoman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, Panprapa Yongtrakul.

“The two-digit level of new cases found at hospitals and communities shows that the local Covid-19 situation is under control.”

The CCSA reports that 43 of the 65 local infections were found in communities with 22 of the 65 found in hospitals across 4 provinces.

Samut Sakhon province, the source of the second wave of Covid in the Kingdom, reported 77% of the new cases. Of the 50 cases found in the province, 38 were found in communities and 12 were found at hospitals.

Pathum Thani reported 8 new cases, with 3 being found at hospitals, and 5 in the community. Bangkok reported 6 new cases at hospitals and Chon Buri reported 1 infection found at a hospital. 12 of the 14 imported infections were quarantined arrivals from Russia, The United Arab Emirates, The United States, Slovenia, South Africa, Germany, Libya and Italy.

79 new cases today-COVID-19 Update | News by The Thaiger

The other 2 imported cases were that of Thai women, who ellegedly returned from Myanmar illegally through a natural border crossing in Tak province, despite the government closing off natural border crossings after the February coup by the military in Myanmar.

Covid-19 cases rose worldwide by 446,747 over the past 24 hours to 116.21 million. The worldwide death toll rose by 9,955 to 2.58 million. The US still has the most cases at 29.53 million, rising by 68,321 over the past 24 hours, and the most deaths at 533,636, rising by 1,993 over the last 24 hours.

In light of the recent downturn in reported cases, Samut Sakhon has recently reopened 22 of its wet markets. However, the seafood market where the second wave of the Covid outbreak began, is not one of them, and it is not yet known when that might reopen.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai Health Minister to chair panel on travel bubbles, vaccine passports

Maya Taylor

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Thai Health Minister to chair panel on travel bubbles, vaccine passports | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Thailand’s Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, will chair a meeting on Monday, in which a vaccine passport scheme and potential travel bubbles will be discussed. Anutin says those who’ve been inoculated against Covid-19 will be issued with a book to confirm their vaccination. It’s hoped this will make international travel easier, as well as boosting the public’s confidence and helping life return to some kind of normality.

“The Public Health Ministry is making preparations to bring life back to normal, restore businesses and revive the Thai economy.”

A number of groups and industry representatives have added their voices to growing calls for a vaccine passport policy. The Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking is urging the government to implement the scheme without further delay, while also calling for private companies in Thailand to be allowed purchase and distribute vaccines.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand is also pushing for a vaccine passport policy, while the Tourism Ministry has urged the Health Ministry to approve one. Meanwhile the PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha has asked the Foreign Ministry to carry out a study on vaccine passports, adding that the jury is still out as to their effectiveness. They also have their critics, primarily among rights’ groups and doctors, who argue that there is not yet enough evidence that vaccination prevents transmission.

At Monday’s meeting of the National Communicable Diseases Committee, the Anutin-led panel will also discuss the idea of travel bubbles. Thailand has been considering entering into reciprocal travel arrangements with countries with a high take-up of Covid-19 vaccines.

Meanwhile, Anutin says the public must continue with the practice of mask-wearing, noting that the number of Thais doing so has recently slipped. He says that recent data shows the number of people wearing masks has dropped below 80%, compared to 90% last month.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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