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Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine now approved in Thailand for those over 60

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Photo courtesy of Thai Government Public Relations Department

The Chinese-made Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine is now approved in Thailand for adults over 60 years old. Doctors had initially advised that the vaccine to only be for adults 18 to 60 due to limited research on the elderly. The recommendation from doctors led Thailand’s 67 year old prime minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, to wait and take the AstraZeneca vaccine.

After Prayut backed out of plans to be the first to be injected with the Sinovac vaccine, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, who is 55 years old, stepped up to be the first in Thailand to be vaccinated against Covid-19. The Sinovac vaccine has not been used on those over 60 years old since Thailand launched its Covid-19 immunisation campaign in late February.

Anutin says research on the Sinovac vaccine now shows that it is safe for elderly patients who are in good health while the World Health Organisation recently reported that there is not enough quality data on the risk of serious side effects. WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts say they have a “low level of confidence” in the quality of evidence that the risk of serious side effects was low for adults over the age of 60.

A few patients in Thailand have complained of stroke-like symptoms after being injected with the Sinovac vaccine, but health officials have said those symptoms are stress-related.

Director-general of the Department of Medical Sciences, Supakij Sirilak, says both the AstraZeneca and Sinovac vaccines are safe and effective, adding that every batch of vaccines delivered to Thailand has been checked by the department and the vaccines have met the required efficacy, safety, and manufacturing standards.

The national communicable disease committee recently announced the approval of the vaccine for elderly patients. Anutin, who chaired the committee meeting, says the Thai Food and Drug Administration now just needs to process paperwork to make the approval official.

The Public Health Ministry is now working with the private sector to open 382 vaccination centres across Thailand to reach the goal of vaccinating 50 million people by the end of the year.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Local Thai journalist speaking fluent Thai and English. Tanutam studied in Khon Kaen before attending Bangkok’s Chulalongkhorn University.

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