Thailand’s DDC director says Covid may enter post-pandemic phase this year

Passengers arrive at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport during the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo via Suvarnabhumi Airport Facebook page.

As Thailand has seen a downswing of daily new Covid-19 infections, which have remained below 10,000 since the beginning of January, the country’s Department of Disease Control director-general Dr Opas Karnkawinpong says the widespread virus may enter the post-pandemic stage this year.

The global outbreak has three stages: pre-pandemic, pandemic, and post-pandemic, the director says, adding that the world may soon pass through the middle phase as over 10 billion vaccine doses have been delivered worldwide, with 115 million doses administered in Thailand. Opas says the Omicron variant may be contained and will eventually turn into a localised or seasonal disease since it is less severe than Delta.

He also stated that it will take several years of watching the spread of the virus before classifying it as a seasonal disease because its transmissibility and the majority of infections were only reported in small groups of people who were participating in group activities such as dining together.

Thailand’s vaccination guidelines have also been changed by the committee which is in charge of increasing immunity for Covid-19 as those who have symptoms after receiving the first dose of the Pfizer mRNA vaccine can switch to the AstraZeneca vaccine for the second dose following the recommendation from the World Health Organisation. People infected with the virus can now get a vaccination within a month. Those who have received two doses of AstraZeneca can now choose the same vaccine as a booster.

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Young people aged 12 to 17 with two Sinopharm doses can receive a Pfizer booster shot, while children aged three and over can receive the Sinovac vaccine after it is approved by the Thai Food and Drug Administration.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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