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Thailand to continue with Chinese vaccine after side-effects in small number of cases

Maya Taylor



PHOTO: Mufid Majnun on Unsplash

Government-appointed medical experts say there are no plans to suspend use of the Chinese Covid-19 vaccine after adverse side-effects were reported in 7 recipients. 6 of them were medical staff in the eastern province of Rayong, who developed “stroke-like” symptoms after receiving the first dose of the CoronaVac jab from Sinovac Biotech.

Side-effects included numbness in the limbs and drowsiness, with all 6 recovering following medical treatment. A seventh recipient of the Sinovac jab, in neighbouring Chon Buri, has also recovered. Contrary to earlier reports, no blood clots were found in any of the 7.

The world’s attention has been focused on vaccine safety and efficacy of late, with a tiny minority of people developing very rare blood clots after receiving the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson jabs. Some countries have suspended use of the vaccines, while Denmark is the first European country to ditch the AstraZeneca jab completely.

Kulkanya Chokephaibulkit from Bangkok’s Siriraj Hospital says it’s difficult to say what may have caused the symptoms in the 7 people who received the Chinese vaccine, but that they may be related to the nervous system and are not life-threatening.

“The panel agreed we can continue to use this vaccine batch because the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the temporary effects, which can occur.”

The patients were given brain scans, which returned normal results, ruling out a stroke. The vaccine batch in question was also double-checked and no irregularities were found. According to Kulkanya, doses from the same batch have been distributed elsewhere in the country, with over 300,000 people already receiving them. No side-effects were reported.

To date, Thailand has taken delivery of 2 million doses of CoronaVac, with over 600,000 Thais receiving the vaccine. A further 1.5 million doses are expected to arrive shortly.

Meanwhile, Taweesap Siraprapasiri from the Department of Disease Control has confirmed that Thailand will push ahead with its planned mass vaccination from June.

“The side effects can be monitored and they are not beyond what we can expect.”



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