Annual Covid-19 booster shots planned for Thailand this year

Picture courtesy of Bangkok One.

The Public Health Ministry in Thailand aims to make this year the first in which individuals receive annual Covid-19 booster shots, akin to the seasonal flu vaccine.

Deputy Government Spokesperson Rachada Dhnadirek stated yesterday that Thailand must continue to monitor Covid infections, particularly after cases spiked twice last week due to the global spread of XBB.1.16, a substrain of the Omicron variant.

The majority of fatalities during this period were from the “608” at-risk group, consisting of people over 60 years old, those with pre-existing conditions, and pregnant women.

The government encourages citizens to obtain both flu and Covid vaccines this year. The public can receive Covid vaccines free of charge at state hospitals, while the cost of receiving shots at privately-run hospitals may vary. The flu vaccine is also provided free for at-risk individuals.

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Social Security Fund subscribers over 50 years old are eligible for a free flu vaccine once a year. This year, flu vaccinations at their chosen hospitals will be available from today until August 31.

The Public Health Ministry urges Thais who received Covid vaccinations three to four months ago to get a booster shot to reduce the severity of infections. Updated versions of the vaccine, alongside bivalent types, are accessible from major manufacturers such as Pfizer and Moderna.

The National Health Security Office and the Department of Disease Control will open vaccination sites to administer 2.9 million doses of flu vaccines against three strains — A H1N1, A H3N2, and B Victoria — for seven at-risk groups under the universal health scheme, also known as the gold card scheme, at no cost until August 31.

These groups include pregnant women; children aged 6 months to 2 years old; chronic disease patients, consisting of those with obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, cancer, and diabetes; individuals over 65 years old; people with thalassemia and immunodeficiency; individuals weighing over 100 kilograms; and those with aphasia.

In Bangkok, residents who could not register for a vaccination through the Pao Tang app can resolve the issue by calling the 1330 hotline or contacting “@nhso” on the Line messaging app.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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