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Private hospitals in Thailand working to offer more choices in Covid vaccines



Photo via Flickr/Wahyu Wijanarko

The Private Hospital Association is now working to offer a variety of Covid-19 vaccine brands to Thais in an effort to help boost herd immunity. Thailand currently has only 2 Covid-19 vaccine brands that are currently available and covered by the Thai government’s free inoculation programme. AstraZeneca and Sinovac are on the list, but recipients have no choice in which one they receive. Instead, those wanting a different brand will have to wait until widespread vaccine alternatives appear on the market.

The PHA’s president, Chalerm Harnphanich, says the choices of vaccine brands will be different from the ones given under the government’s free programme. He says Novovax, Sinopharm, Moderna, and Bharat Biotech brands are among the ones in which the association is considering. Just yesterday, the World Health Organisation approved Zuellig Pharma’s Moderna Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use in Thailand in people aged 18 or over. The Moderna vaccine is classified as a mRNA-1273 vaccine and has around a 92% effectiveness rate against Covid-19 from 14 days after receiving only the first dose.

The Moderna vaccine was developed by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, along with the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. The team of developers have also stated that its efficacy does not decrease when exposed to new virus variants, including the recent UK (B117) strain that has attacked Thailand.

Novavax, a Covid vaccine, that was developed by a US biotech company of the same name, has not yet received approval for emergency use in the United States. However, the vaccine has already been listed in the WHO’s COVAX portfolio, along with the Moderna vaccine.

The WHO approved Sinopharm’s vaccine for emergency use after trials showed it was 79% effective in preventing symptomatic Covid-19 from 14 days after the second jab. But the Thai FDA has not received registration documents from the vaccine maker and says vaccines don’t need to be approved by the WHO before countries can register them. It did, however, receive documents from Bharat Biotech, in which a latest trial shows the vaccine as having a 100% effectiveness rate against severe Covid-19, or SARS-CoV-2, symptoms, which would prevent the need for hospitalisation.

Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Chalermchai Sri-on, says the prices of the vaccines are not finalised, nor is the decision on which brands will be available in the private sector. He also says there is no timeframe on when the vaccines will be delivered.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World


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Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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