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“Vaccines are no magic bullet” – World Health Organisation

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“Vaccines are no magic bullet” – World Health Organisation | The Thaiger
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“Vaccines will be no magic bullet for the coronavirus crisis as nations gear up for a massive rollout to tackle surging infections.”

The warning of caution comes from the World Health Organisation on the day the US United States recorded a record number of Covid-19 cases for a second day in a row. President-elect Joe Biden is already describing the time ahead as a “dark winter”. The US recorded 235,272 new infections on Friday, the second daily record in a row for the world’s worst-hit nation.

Large-scale public vaccinations are expected to roll out within weeks. But the WHO is warning against ‘vaccine complacency’ saying that exists an erroneous belief that the Covid-19 crisis will be over after people are vaccinated.

WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan, says that not everyone will be able to receive the medicine early next year.

“Vaccination will add a major, powerful tool to the tool kit that we have. But by themselves, they will not do the job. Vaccines do not equal zero Covid.”

The WHO also announced yesterday that 51 candidate vaccines are currently being tested on humans… 13 have reached Phase 3 mass testing and headed towards approval.

Meanwhile in the US, the Centres for Disease Control is now recommending “universal face mask use” indoors for the first time and President-elect says he will “ask all Americans to wear a mask for 100 days”.

Britain became the first Western country to approve a vaccine from the Pfizer/BioNTech candidate, for general use, adding additional pressure for other countries and pharmaceutical giants to swiftly follow suit. Businesses and logistics companies specialising in cold storage and insulating containers are preparing for the Pfizer and BioNTech injection as their vaccine needs to be stored and transported at -70 degrees Celsius.

In the US, Belgium, France and Spain inoculations will begin later this month and January for the most vulnerable, then broader community groups.

In south east Asia, Singapore Airlines will prioritise freight capacity to ship the new vaccines and will conduct test flights soon to trial the transport into south east Asian hubs. The airline says that Boeing 747-400 freighters, and some specially-purposed passenger aircraft, will be ready to boost capacity where needed.

The logistics of a successful vaccine rollout are challenging enough, but the vocal rump of vaccine sceptics, aka. anti-vaxxers, peddling misinformation and mistrust, continue to colour public discourse on the topic. Social media platforms have recently been active in removing much of this misinformation but admit that they will never be able to intervene with all comments.

To counter this President-elect Joe Biden, WHO director-general Tedros and former US presidents Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton, have all said they will be inoculated publicly to help build confidence. Other world leaders are throwing their support behind positive promotions of the new vaccines offering their arms for the first jabs in their countries.

SOURCES: AP | Reuters | WHO

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Issan John

    Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 7:18 pm

    How can a vaccine be a “magic bullet” when over 60% of the French, for example, won’t take it?

    Not because they’re “anti-vaxxers” but because they think the vaccine they’re being advised to take hasn’t been tested adequately, isn’t effective enough for those who need it, and that it’s being rushed out for political reasons not medical ones.

  2. Avatar

    lulu

    Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 9:28 pm

    Biden not a president… what planet are you on?

  3. Avatar

    Marv

    Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 10:12 pm

    Vaccines as no magic bullet, perhaps so. But, widespread vaccination is as close to a magic bullet as they come. Widespread and well planned vaccination programs have led to the eradication of polio, small pox, etc.

  4. Avatar

    Don R

    Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 11:20 pm

    Article was nothing but blubbering media stupidity from beginning to end, as we’ve come to expect.

    2020 has certainly been the year of pearl clutching milk sops.

    It must be a moment of great vindication for E Asians who wore masks superstitiously for years, even though there’s still no good evidence supporting the use of masks. However, it seems to me that Asia skipped the first two more important steps in infectious disease prevention:

    Step 1: If you’re sick, stay home.
    Step 2: Wash your hands with soap.

    I was in a restaurant last night where one of the staff had an obvious cough and the sniffles, yet was still carrying plates to tables. In the West people actually get sent home if they show up sick at work, and that was *before* Rona. I’ve also noticed that here in Asia the staff never properly wash their hands, aside from a rare splash of water in the sink.

    It’s pretty obvious that E Asians are already fairly resistant to Rona and/or their reporting is just not that good.

  5. Avatar

    Patrick Kelly

    Monday, December 7, 2020 at 1:23 am

    Bingo…vaccines are not a silver bullet. Truer words never spoken. Reopen and offer subsidies to bolster tourism . This is a done deal , it’s just a matter of when the government capitulates . The locals who want to remain on lockdown out of paranoia will be left with sending negative comments to Thethaiger…

  6. Avatar

    Issan John

    Monday, December 7, 2020 at 1:47 am

    I have to take exception to quite a few of your points.

    “… E Asians who wore masks superstitiously for years …”

    What “superstition”? Genuinely, what “superstition” are you talking about?

    The two main drivers behind wearing face masks, at least in Thailand, are religion and health / vanity – not superstition.

    Strict Buddhists value the sanctity of all life, however small, and that meant not just being vegan but protecting flies and mosquitoes from being killed by being inhaled which could only be done by wearing a face mask – that’s not “superstition”, but a religious tradition for some.

    It’s also for protection from the sun – partly to stop melanoma / skin cancer, and partly to avoid going ‘black’ out of vanity. Even labourers and those working in the fields in Isaan will often wrap an old t-shirt round their faces to protect themselves from the sun. That’s not “superstition” but health and vanity.

    “there’s still no good evidence supporting the use of masks”

    I suggest the proof of the pudding’s in the eating.

    While the West sees “no good evidence”, that’s because the “evidence” they’re looking for is personal protection while the East don’t see masks as offering the wearer any protection but as protecting others from the wearer – ‘You’re protecting me, and I’m protecting you’.

    Even now, the West still can’t grasp that.

    “it seems to me that Asia skipped the first two more important steps in infectious disease prevention:

    Step 1: If you’re sick, stay home.
    Step 2: Wash your hands with soap.”

    Well, if Asia “skipped” them and they’ve still got better results, doesn’t that suggest that they’re not as “important” as the West thinks?

    Maybe people here can’t afford to “stay home” aa much as they can in the West …

    … and maybe people actually are washing their hands a lot more than you think. Macro, Big ‘C’, Lotus, 7-11, banks, local markets, and many others are over flowing with free hand gels after a brief shortage, and Thailand had a marked reduction in contagious infections this year compared to last.

    I’m not doubting your personal experience, but again the proof of the pudding …

    The idea that “it’s pretty obvious that E Asians are already fairly resistant to Rona” makes no rational sense at all – do they somehow become less resistant when they move to or visit the West, when they’re at least as vulnerable to Covid-19 as anyone else?

    .. and I can’t be bothered to point out the absurdity of the suggestion that “their reporting is just not that good” yet again given the minimal numbers who are symptomatic as anyone actually here can’t fail to see.

  7. Avatar

    Laurent

    Thursday, December 10, 2020 at 4:45 pm

    Covid19 is just flu, stop all the bullshit restrictions now!

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

AstraZeneca vaccine could be approved for emergency use in Thailand this week

Maya Taylor

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AstraZeneca vaccine could be approved for emergency use in Thailand this week | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Hakan Nural for UnSplash

Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration is likely to approve a Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca in partnership with Oxford University as early as this week. The vaccine, already given the go-ahead in the US and UK, would be approved for emergency use, with administration likely to begin next month. Healthcare workers and those with underlying conditions will be prioritised.

Opas Karnkawinpong from the Disease Control Department says the FDA’s review of the vaccine’s efficacy and safety is going well. Thailand has fallen behind its neighbours in terms of vaccine administration, with a number of countries in the region already starting their roll-out. Indonesia kicked things off last week, with President Joko Widodo the first to receive China’s Sinovac jab.

Thailand is expected to take delivery of 200,000 doses of the Chinese vaccine next month, but questions linger over its efficacy, which was recently revised downwards by researchers in Brazil. The vaccine has not yet completed phase 3 trials and Thailand’s health officials say it may not gain FDA approval until February 14, as the manufacturer has no representation in the Kingdom.

Thailand has signed a technology-transfer agreement with AstraZeneca to produce that vaccine locally. The jab will be manufactured by Siam Bioscience, a pharmaceutical company owned by the Monarchy. Surachok Tangwiwat from the FDA says the doses currently subject to approval have been produced by other countries, but did not specify which ones, how many doses have been imported, or at what cost.

The AstraZeneca vaccine has completed phase 3 trials and has been shown to be 70% effective, less than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. However, the World Health Organisation has previously stated that a vaccine only needs to be over 50% effective to meet the global threshold for regulatory approval.

SOURCE: Coconuts

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Visa

Covid-19 test NOT required for visa extensions (at least not today)

Maya Taylor

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Covid-19 test NOT required for visa extensions (at least not today) | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Pixy

No, you don’t, yes, you do… Expats are scratching their heads over the mixed messages circulating in relation to the latest Thailand immigration requirements, not to mention the announcements (and retractions) published in the nation’s English-language media outlets.

It all began over the weekend, when the nation’s favourite blogger, and Bangkok Post fanboy, Richard Barrow, shared the news that foreigners who wished to remain in the Kingdom would need a negative Covid-19 test. According to his post, this update to the country’s immigration law was published in the Royal Gazette on December 25, taking effect from January 25. Needless to say, Richard’s post attracted hundreds of comments from the bewildered, the despairing, and the angry, not to mention the usual slew of social media keyboardologists.

Covid-19 test NOT required for visa extensions (at least not today) | News by The Thaiger

Twitter/Richard Barrow in Thailand

Yesterday, an article published by Khaosod English also stated that Covid-19 testing would be required for all visa extensions. The story has since been removed and replaced with a retraction, following a statement issued by Archayon Kraithong from the Immigration Bureau.

The story was also picked up by The Phuket News, who spoke to the deputy chief of Phuket Immigration, Nareuwat Putthawiro. He confirmed that his office had received NO such order from the powers-that-be in Bangkok or from regional headquarters in Songkhla. The immigration chief in Chon Buri said something similar.

Archayon’s original statement had claimed a negative Covid-19 test would be a requirement for all types of visa extensions. Within an hour, he was forced to backpedal and apologise for the… well, you guessed it.

“I apologise for the misunderstanding. It will only apply to certain types of visa, most likely the permanent resident visa.”

Archayon says his office is now waiting for the Council of State to provide an interpretation of the update published in the Royal Gazette last month, which saw Covid-19 added to the list of diseases foreigners must be clear of in order to take up residency in the Kingdom. The virus now joins other prohibited ailments such as elephantiasis, leprosy, and syphilis.

SOURCE: The Phuket News| Khaosod English

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

The Thai government threw a tourist party (sound of crickets) | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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The Thai government threw a tourist party (sound of crickets) | VIDEO | The Thaiger

The Thai Government, flushed with the success of their containment of Covid-19, decided to market the Land of Smiles to the world as the safe place to travel. With the annual wet season starting to weaken the tourists would flock back to the S E Asian country that had such a remarkable success containing, then almost eradicating itself, of the coronavirus.

Then they came up with the STV – the special tourist visa which would have the world’s eager travellers packing their sun cream for up to 270 days of Thai tourism.

There were promises of plane loads of tourists and even published flights and carriers. A few flights arrived, most didn’t.

In fact, since the start of the STV, the Special Tourist Visa, with its long list of restrictions and requirements, was floated, along with a re-vamped Tourist Visa, less than 400 people have arrived per month, on average, since the end of October. In the October and November of the year before more than 3 million people arrived in Thailand. Even the government’s limit of 1,200 new tourist arrivals per month was even slightly tested.

The government had bought all the streamers and a pretty new dress for the party but no one came.

What went wrong?

Where was the much-anticipated pent-up demand and people banging on the doors of the world’s Thai embassies?

It was the European winter and the ‘snowbirds’ would surely be back to soak in some Thai sun rays. But no.

The first problem was there wasn’t much for them to come back to. They would have the beaches of the islands all to themselves, they wouldn’t have to wait in line for anything, the domestic airlines were still selling low fares to Tavel anywhere around the country.

But otherwise there wasn’t a lot for them to do. The tourism magnets were a shadow of their former selves. Walking Street, Bangla Road, tours and tour boats, all the tourist strip restaurants. The buzz of the crowds was gone and more than 90% of the tourist-related business had closed up.

Their staff, their families, their bank loans, their stock and investments – all on hold and forced to find come other means to make ends meet. 931 of some of the larger official tourism operators have now gone out of business, according to Bloomberg News. There would be thousands of the smaller family operations that have also been swept aside by the Thai government’s responses to the world pandemic.

 

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