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Vaccines bring hope, but we won’t be out of the woods for some time – Thai health officials

Maya Taylor

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Vaccines bring hope, but we won’t be out of the woods for some time – Thai health officials | The Thaiger
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Health officials in Thailand have welcomed the development of a number of seemingly-effective Covid-19 vaccines but warn that the “new normal” will remain for some time. In an interview with the Bangkok Post, Opas Karnkawinpong from the Department of Disease Control says people will still have to wear masks, observe social distancing, and wash their hands regularly.

“The challenge posed by Covid-19 is new and we have no playbook for it. No one knows whether these vaccines will work or how long the immunity will last. It is a learning process and scientists around the world can only watch and learn at the moment. Until the ministry is convinced the vaccination is effective and safe, restrictions will remain. And even after that, the easing will be gradual. The government must inoculate more than 50% of the population, then assess whether herd immunity kicks in.”

Opas confirms that, once available, the vaccine will be administered for free – at least for Thai residents. Certain groups will receive priority based on their risk level. The government has already committed to speeding up the vaccination timeline, as Thailand finds itself battling a resurgence of the virus. This will be the biggest vaccination drive ever carried out in the Kingdom.

Opas points out that, while administering the vaccine to tens of millions of people is a challenge in itself, the real test will be in monitoring what happens afterwards. He says it must be made clear to people that 1 shot is not enough and they must return for a second. Data will also need to be gathered to ascertain the vaccine’s effectiveness and how long protection lasts.

Thailand is due to take delivery of 200,000 vaccine doses from China at the end of next month, followed by increased supplies in March and April. Healthcare workers in provinces considered high-risk will be first in line, as well as border patrol officials and vulnerable members of society.

A full national roll-out is not expected to take place before May, with the arrival of 26 million doses of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca in partnership with the UK’s Oxford University. In addition, the government is in talks to procure a further 35 million doses shortly after. Both sides have also signed a technology-transfer agreement that gives manufacturing rights to the Thai firm, Siam Bioscience.

Meanwhile, Dr Nakorn Premsri from the National Vaccine Institute echoes the DDC’s note of caution.

“No vaccine is 100% effective. The influenza vaccine, for example, is only around 50% preventative. So, we can expect this vaccine only to reduce fatalities and relieve the symptoms. People must still take reasonable precautions. It won’t be until 2 years after most people are vaccinated that Covid-19 can no longer be considered an epidemic.”

He adds that in order for the Kingdom’s borders to reopen fully, officials should be aiming to vaccinate a minimum of 70% of residents in tourist areas.

Meanwhile, Sathit Pitutecha from the Public Health Ministry remains hopeful the vaccines will allow for the easing of some entry restrictions, including a wider choice of quarantine facilities, such as golf and spa resorts. However, experts agree it will be at least 2 years before revenue returns to what it was in pre-Covid times.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Stu

    Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at 10:43 am

    Lets start a wager….

    My bet is farang will be charged 20k for the free vaccine.

    Your guesses folks?

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at 11:08 am

      Let’s not be quite so stupid, since the planned price at a private hospital for the far more expensive to buy, stock and transport mRNA vaccine is already known.

    • Avatar

      Maverick

      Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at 11:12 am

      Silly discussion – let’s be thankful we are not in Europe or US – why not go home and get your free vaccine

    • Avatar

      Ben

      Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at 10:14 pm

      The vaccine is not free. The Thai government is paying for it and distributing it to its citizens for free. So if you’re not a Thai citizen then it’s not free for you. It’s free for you where you’re a citizen. So stop wining and pay the freight or go to your home country and get it. Stop with the Cheap Charlie behavior. You seem to have a sense of entitlement that doesn’t hunt in Thailand unless you can pay for it.

      The Thai government is trying to manage expectations and this is a CYA PR move. Under promise and over deliver.

  2. Avatar

    Issan John

    Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at 11:14 am

    The most worrying thing about this isn’t so much when the vaccine will be available or the roll out system, as I’m confident of both, but the source of the “further 35 million doses” which is still to be confirmed.

    Astra Zeneca or Siam BioScience, great … China and Sinovac rather less so, despite approval in the UAE and bahrain.

    • Avatar

      Peter

      Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at 2:43 pm

      The board’s no1 fu1kwit has spoken.
      The Thai clown scientist said he doesn’t know if vaccines will be effective.
      WTF? What do they think all the trial data’s for?
      One thing is pretty certain though, vaccinating 50% of the population isn’t going to get herd immunity.
      Love your new board name by the way John.
      No doubt something you get one of the local Thai villagers to do on you, when you can scrap a few baht together.

      • Avatar

        Maverick

        Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at 3:51 pm

        They don’t know if vaccinated people can transmit the virus or how long immunity lasts this was not part of the clinical trials studies are ongoing they released the vaccines early to protect the elderly and save lives I can live with that we will have to wait for further info before travel can commence

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at 5:09 pm

        If you have the “trial data” for the Sinovac vaccine from the Phase 3 trials, maybe you could let everyone else in on the secret.

    • Avatar

      EdwardV

      Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at 10:20 pm

      You are way more confident of “roll out system” than I am. I hope you are right, but from my own experience no one should be confident of anything the Thai government does. They like most governments have the ability of screw up just about everything. I’ve had my dealings with the Thai medical system, it’s never gone smoothly, or quickly. Again, hope you are right. I too am worried about where these further 35M doses are coming from, the fact they didn’t say right away doesn’t bode well.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Thursday, January 7, 2021 at 2:07 pm

        I’m basing my confidence on the tetanus vaccination system, which is tried, tested, simple, and works.

        Stick to that, and there shouldn’t be a problem. Otherwise … 🙁

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

CCSA Update: 59 new Covid-19 cases and 1 death

Caitlin Ashworth

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CCSA Update: 59 new Covid-19 cases and 1 death | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Post Today

The new wave of cases has been on a downward slope in recent weeks. Today’s count of 59 new Covid-19 cases is the lowest daily count since mid-December. A coronavirus-related death was also reported today in the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s daily briefing.

A 48 year old Thai woman died after testing positive for Covid-19. The woman worked as a driver for migrant workers. No other information was released about her in the CCSA’s English-language report. It’s unclear if she had pre-existing conditions.

Out of the 59 new Covid-19 cases, 28 are local transmissions, 23 cases were detected in proactive testing and 8 cases detected in quarantine for those entering Thailand from abroad.

Since the start of the pandemic, Thailand has reported a total of 12,653 Covid-19 cases and 71 deaths. The new wave of Covid-19 cases has spread to 62 of Thailand’s 77 provinces.

CCSA Update: 59 new Covid-19 cases and 1 death | News by The Thaiger

Active Covid-19 cases in Thailand as of January 19, according to Worldometers.

SOURCE:CCSA

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Economy

Shoppers disgruntled as registration for co-payment scheme fills up in 10 minutes

Maya Taylor

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Shoppers disgruntled as registration for co-payment scheme fills up in 10 minutes | The Thaiger
PHOTO: National News Bureau of Thailand

Social media users are up in arms after registration for the government’s Kon La Khreung (“Let’s Go Halves”) co-payment scheme filled up within 10 minutes. The scheme, first introduced as an economic stimulus measure in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, gives shoppers 50% off the purchase of everyday items, up to 150 baht a day and capped at 3,500 baht for the duration of the scheme.

The third phase of registration had a quota of 1.34 million users, but interested parties had to be quick. Having lost their chance to register, many disgruntled people took to social media to complain, with the hashtag #คนละครึ่งเฟส3 (#Let’s Go Halves3) trending on Twitter.

Several netizens say they filled out the online registration form at exactly 6.01am but were then forced to wait for the one-time password to be delivered to their phones before they could complete the process. In many instances, by the time they received the OTP code, registration was full. Some say they had to wait over 5 minutes to receive the password, which caused them to miss the small window for registration.

According to a Nation Thailand report, one person has described the scheme as nothing more than a government PR stunt, pointing out that, despite being funded by taxpayers’ money, only some people can avail of it.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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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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