Thai lung specialist highlights Covid-19 risks for elderly unvaccinated

PHOTO: UNHCR/Morgane Roussel Hemery

With around 1 in 6 elderly Thai people still not vaccinated against Covid-19, a lung specialist has taken to Facebook to warn of the health risks they face. The elderly population is among the group at highest risk of developing severe Covid-19 symptoms and dying from the virus. To illustrate the danger, Dr Manoon Leechawengwongs has highlighted 2 recent cases of Covid-19 infection in elderly patients, according to a Nation Thailand report.

The first case is that of a 74-year-old man who had received 2 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The man has high blood pressure and an enlarged prostate gland. After developing a fever, cough, and sore throat over the course of 3 days, he tested positive for Covid-19 on April 3. However, tests on his oxygen saturation and a lung x-ray came back normal.

The patient took 4 capsules of the Molnupiravir antiviral treatment every 12 hours and, after 5 days, was able to return home. Following a 2-week monitoring period at home, he had another lung x-ray, which also came back normal.

The second patient is an unvaccinated 77-year-old man, who was described as fit and strong, with no underlying health conditions. He experienced coughing and phlegm over the course of 4 days and tested positive for Covid-19 on April 11.

The man’s oxygen saturation and lung x-ray came back normal. A test on his erythrocyte sedimentation rate (the rate of inflammatory activity in the body) also came back normal, as did a high-sensitivity C-reactive protein test, which checks the risk of cardiovascular disease. On April 12, the unvaccinated patient began taking Molnupiravir and showed signs of improvement in Covid symptoms after 5 days.

However, on April 18, after stopping Molnupiravir, the man developed a fever and a cough. Both his erythrocyte sedimentation rate and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein also increased, but oxygen saturation and a lung x-ray remained normal. After a course of treatment with steroids, the man finally recovered after 5 days.

According to Manoon, the findings indicate that even just 2 doses of a Covid vaccine offers more protection than remaining unvaccinated. He says vaccination can help protect the elderly against the risk of severe illness and pneumonia with Covid-19. The lung specialist has also called on Thai doctors to stop prescribing Favipiravir to patients with severe symptoms, pointing out that there are better treatments available.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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