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Update: Vaccine for Thais and Foreigners

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  • Update: Vaccine for Thais and Foreigners

    Bang Sue offering walk-in vaccination, with choice of vaccine, for Thais and foreigners

    Covid-19 vaccines are now available at Bangkok’s Bang Sue Grand station, with no appointment necessary, regardless of which dose is required. The Central Vaccination Centre says inoculation is available to both Thais and foreigners, who can also choose which vaccine they want. The move is in response to a surge in infections, including a spike in those developing lung infections with Covid-19.

    The Bangkok Post reports that last month, the number of patients who developed lung infections rose 1.5 times, along with a surge in deaths among the elderly unvaccinated population. Most of this group contracted the virus from infected relatives. The CVC says elderly people who receive a booster dose are 41% less likely to die from the virus when compared to the unvaccinated. According to the study cited by the centre, immunity is most effective around 7 – 14 days following vaccination.

    The CVC is accelerating the vaccine rollout ahead of the Songkran holiday next month, when the elderly population is likely to be visited by family members. Offering vaccines on a walk-in basis at Bang Sue is part of efforts to ramp up the rollout. Vaccination is open to both Thais and foreigners, regardless of which dose they require or which vaccine they want. The centre at Bang Sue will be open every day from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm between now and Songkran. It will be closed on April 6 for the Chakri Memorial Day holiday and again during the Songkran holiday. According to the Bangkok Post report, the centre re-opens on April 18.

  • #2
    Government ramping up vaccination of the elderly ahead of Songkran holiday

    Health authorities in Thailand are accelerating the Covid-19 vaccine rollout for the elderly population ahead of the Songkran holiday in April. Sumanee Wacharasin from the CCSA says the government wants to ensure people over the age of 60 receive a booster dose to maintain high immunity.

    The move comes as many people plan to return home, reuniting with elderly relatives over the New Year holiday period. According to a Bangkok Post report, the vaccination drive for the elderly will be rolled out this month. Sumanee says that between March 21 and 31, the plan is to vaccinate 70% of the elderly population.

    “The communicable disease committees in all provinces have to map out a proactive plan to check people who have yet to receive a booster shot and ask them to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”
    Recent data from the Public Health Ministry shows that just 31% of Thailand’s elderly population has received a third, or booster, dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. Officials are anxious to prevent any more deaths in the elderly, with concerns raised over potential contact with infected family members over the holiday.

    Since the outbreak of the milder but highly-contagious Omicron variant, the vast majority of Covid-19 deaths have been among the elderly. Yesterday, 73% of the 74 deaths reported were patients over the age of 60. The health ministry says that getting at least 2 vaccine doses significantly reduces the risk of severe illness or death among the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.


    • #3
      Health ministry approves half-dose of mRNA vaccine as booster for elderly

      In a bid to persuade Thailand’s elderly population, and those with chronic illnesses, to get a Covid-19 booster, health officials have approved using half the usual dose. Dr Kiattiphum Wongrajit says the half-dose will be an mRNA vaccine, such as Pfizer, adding that officials are acknowledging a fear of side-effects among the elderly.

      “To deal with this fear, I have instructed health officials to halve the Pfizer dose for the elderly. A half-dose will also be given to members of the general public if they want a fourth shot. This is because studies have shown that just half the dose of an mRNA vaccine can reduce both side effects and improve immunity.”

      According to a Nation Thailand report, Kiattiphum says 97% of the Covid deaths reported yesterday were in people in high-risk groups such as the elderly, those with underlying health conditions, and pregnant women. Out of the 70 deaths reported, 47 were over the age of 70 and 52 had only received a single vaccine dose or none at all.

      “Studies found that 30% of the senior Covid-19 patients did not have lung inflammation. So, if this group was given better protection, we should be able to reduce the number of deaths. If up to 60% of the elderly population gets the third shot, deaths can be more than halved.”
      The health ministry is launching 2 campaigns ahead of the Songkran holiday next month. The first will be to persuade the elderly population to get vaccinated or boosted prior to receiving family members over the holiday. The second campaign is aimed at those who plan to visit their elderly relatives. The campaign will encourage them to avoid mass gatherings and large social events for at least a week before visiting their home provinces, and to take an antigen test before travelling.


      • #4
        Health officials to give Molnupiravir and Paxlovid to Covid-19 patients in Thailand

        Two anti-viral medications will be added to the Covid-19 treatment plan in Thailand. The Department of Medical Services shared that the Molnupiravir and Paxlovid medicines have been approved for treating Covid-19 patients. Molnupiravir is intended to treat high-risk groups like elders and patients with chronic diseases. Relevant departments will discuss the use of Paxlovid. The primary Covid-19 medication, the anti-viral Favipiravir, will be limited for patients with moderate and severe symptoms only.

        The director of the department, Somsak Akkasilp, shared that the authorities will discuss the distribution and use details later. There will also be a study on the effectiveness of using Molnupiravir, Paxlovid, and Favipiravir to come up with a plan to use the medications reasonably and effectively.

        The Ministry of Public Health informed that the Covid-19 treatment plan in Thailand would be adjusted according to the situation. Recently, the authorities shared Home Isolation and Community Isolation would be the primary treatment provided to patients with mild symptoms.

        A pulmonary disease expert at Vichaiyut Hospital told Thai media that Molnupiravir could help reduce the severity of the disease and death rates by about 30%. He said the medicine would be given to patients at high risk.


        • #5
          Health minister urges over 2 million elderly to come forward for vaccination

          As the government plans to administer booster vaccines to 70% of the elderly population before Songkran, Thailand’s health minister is urging them to come forward. According to a Bangkok Post report, Anutin Charnvirakul is telling 2.1 million elderly people to make sure they’re protected before the Thai New Year holiday next month.

          The Department of Disease Control is liaising with public health offices around the country to ensure as many people as possible can be inoculated as quickly as possible. Anutin says village health volunteers and religious leaders are being asked to talk to senior citizens in their areas and encourage them to get vaccinated.

          The health minister says people should try to get their vaccine around 3 weeks before Songkran, pointing out that it takes some time to build up immunity. Health officials are anxious about the potential fallout from people returning to their home provinces over the holiday and visiting elderly, unvaccinated relatives. Those who plan to travel to their home provinces have been advised to avoid high-risk activities before travel, to minimise the risk of contracting the virus and spreading it to vulnerable family members.

          Meanwhile, Dr Prasit Watanapa from the Siriraj medical school at Mahidol University is hopeful the situation after this year’s Songkran will not be as concerning as last year’s, due to a combination of Thailand’s high vaccination rate and the dominant strain being the less severe Omicron variant. However, he says the elderly and other vulnerable groups still need to get vaccinated to ensure they’re protected.

          According to the Bangkok Post, Prasit says 50% of those who died from Covid-19 during the first 3 weeks of March were not vaccinated at all, 30% had received their second dose 3 months before becoming infected, while 10% had received only 1 vaccine dose. Prasit says this data shows that 90% of those who died were inadequately protected against Covid-19.


          • #6
            Prayut pushes pre-Songkran Covid boosters, 6 walk-in centres open in Bangkok

            PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is encouraging people to get vaccinated against Covid-19 prior to the Songkran festival next month, according to a spokesperson. Many Thais will visit their families during the Songkran, which is the Thai New Year celebrated from April 13 to 15, and officials worry the gatherings could cause a spike in Covid-19 cases.

            The Public Health Ministry has launched a booster shot campaign with the goal of offering booster jabs to 70% of the elderly who have already been vaccinated twice. PM Prayut encourages people over 60, those suffering from underlying illnesses and pregnant women to receive their shots against Covid-19 before the holidays as a precautionary measure, according to Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, spokesperson for the PM.

            Today, Public Relations Bangkok revealed they have opened six walk-in centres in Bangkok to facilitate people getting vaccinated before the holidays at the following destinations:
            • Wet Gymnasium 1, Bangkok Youth Centre (Thai-Japan). Accepting unlimited walk-ins. Open every day from 8am to 4pm. Temporarily closed from April 13 to 17.
            • Thanya Park Shopping Mall. Accepting 500 walk-ins per day. Available until April 30. Temporarily closed from April 13-17. Closed on Saturday and Sundays.
            • Central Rama 3. Accepting 200 walk-ins per day. Available until April 30. Open from 1pm to 3pm. Temporarily closed from April 11 to 17. Open everyday except Sunday.
            • Central Pinklao. Accepting 200 walk-ins per day. Available until April 30. Open from 1pm-3pm. Temporarily closed from April 11 to 17. Open everyday.
            • Central East Ville. Accepting 200 walk-ins per day. Available until April 30. Open from 1pm to 3pm. Temporarily closed from April 11 to 17. Open everyday except Sunday.
            • Robinson Ladkrabang. Accepting 200 walk-ins per day. Available until April 30. Open from 1pm to 3pm. Temporarily closed from April 11 to 17. Open everyday.
            With daily cases of Covid-19 reaching 20,000 in recent weeks, Director of the Ministry’s Health Administration Division Dr Korakit Limsommut has listed medications suitable for treating varying severities of Covid-19 infections. Covid-19 cases with few or no symptoms will get general drugs, those with moderate symptoms and no underlying conditions will get green chiretta capsules, and vulnerable groups will get antiviral drugs.
            On Friday, provinces across Thailand received 10 million favipiravir pills. Another three million were distributed in Bangkok. 30% of patients experiencing mild symptoms from the Omicron variant need favipiravir pills, he said.

            For more information regarding walk-in vaccination centres, call Bangkok Office of Health at 02-203-2883.


            • #7
              Health ministry revises criteria for administration of booster vaccine doses

              The Public Health Ministry has revised the formula for the administration of Covid-19 booster vaccine doses, according to a Nation Thailand report. The confirmation follows chatter on social media that the ministry had changed the criteria, prompting Thailand’s Anti-Fake News Centre to investigate and confirm it was true. According to the Nation Thailand report, the new criteria for getting a third or fourth booster dose is as follows:

              For people over the age of 18, the third booster should be administered no more than 3 months after the second vaccine dose. A fourth dose should be given no more than 4 months after the third dose. People can also opt to receive a half dose of Pfizer as a booster, at their doctor’s discretion.

              Young people between the ages of 12 and 17 should receive a full dose of Pfizer, or another mRNA vaccine, as their third dose, which should be administered between 4 and 6 months after the second dose.
              Those who’ve recovered from Covid-19 infection should wait 3 months before receiving a booster dose.

              Meanwhile, the Public Health Ministry says that while 2 vaccine doses will not necessarily protect someone from becoming infected with the Omicron variant, it significantly decreases their chances of dying from the virus. A third dose can protect against infection in around 45 to 68% of patients and against death in 98%. A fourth dose can protect against infection in 82% of people.

              The ministry is urging people who have not done so to get a third vaccine dose, as officials ramp up efforts to administer booster doses to 70% of the elderly population ahead of the Songkran holiday next month.


              • #8
                Thai teenagers to be offered Pfizer booster vaccines from May

                Teenagers in Thailand aged 12-17, who received their second dose of Covid vaccines 4 to 6 months ago, are now allowed to get a Pfizer booster shots next month. The new school year is starting soon, and the move is to boost their immunity against Covid 19, said Disease Control Department Director-General Dr. Opart Karnkawinpong

                Students in the same age group, who have been diagnosed with downs syndrome, cancer, obesity, immune deficiency, or any genetic diseases, will also be allowed to receive their booster shots.

                Thai health experts say they are ready to monitor vaccinations and help support parents of teenagers with specific health issues. They’ve also clarified that Covid vaccines won’t be forced on parents and students as they will only be provided with permission from both parties.

                The national vaccination for children and people under the age of 18 is supported by the Public Health and Education ministries. Each person will be given a 15 microgram injection of the Pfizer Covid vaccine and the vaccine will be used within 6 hours of opening.


                • #9
                  Donated Covavax doses to be offered to the unvaccinated, people with allergies

                  Donated supplies of the Covavax protein sub-unit vaccine will be offered to the unvaccinated, as well as people who are allergic to other vaccine types. Opart Karnkawinpong from Thailand’s Department of Disease Control says the doses, which were donated by India and partner countries in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, have already been sent to the Medical Sciences Department to be cleared for distribution.

                  According to a Thai PBS World report, the protein sub-unit vaccine will be offered to those who remain unvaccinated, as well as people who are allergic to other vaccines, provided they are given the go-ahead from their doctor. The vaccine is administered in 2 doses, which are given 3 weeks apart. According to the report, there are currently no plans to offer the vaccine as a booster dose.

                  Covavax, and other protein sub-unit vaccines, contain harmless, purified fragments of the virus, selected for their ability to trigger immunity. The technology behind the vaccine is considered safe and is already in use in many common vaccines, including those used to inoculate against hepatitis B.

                  Thailand’s health minister Anutin Charnvirakul says officials are still calling on people to get vaccinated or get their booster doses when offered, in particular young people returning to school when the new term starts mid-May. It’s understood that fewer than 50% of children between the ages of 5 and 11 have received a first vaccine dose and only around 4% have received 2 doses.

                  Of children between the ages of 12 and 17, 87% have received their first vaccine dose and over 74% have received 2 doses. However, only 1.6% have received a booster dose. The government has reserved 7 million vaccine doses, which will be administered to school students during the month of May.


                  • #10
                    Pfizer Covid-19 treatment, Paxlovid, “strongly recommended” by WHO

                    The World Health Organisation has given its backing to Pfizer’s Covid-19 treatment, Paxlovid, recommending it over the alternatives. The WHO says it “strongly recommends” the treatment for Covid patients with milder symptoms, who remain at high risk of being hospitalised. However, it adds that, as with vaccines, inequality in accessing the drug remains a problem for lower and middle-income countries.

                    The WHO says it recommends Paxlovid over molnupiravir and remdesivir for the treatment of Covid patients who remain unvaccinated, are elderly, or have underlying health conditions. There are fewer concerns about side-effects with the Pfizer treatment, compared to molnupiravir, and it is also easy to take at home, unlike remdesivir and monoclonal antibodies, which have to be administered intravenously.

                    However, the WHO says the treatment must be taken while patients are in the early stages of Covid-19, as soon as possible after testing positive. They must start taking Paxlovid within 5 days of experiencing symptoms. A treatment course lasts 5 days. Remdesivir can be taken within 7 days of developing symptoms, but needs to be administered intravenously over 3 days.

                    The WHO is also calling on the manufacturer to be more transparent when it comes to the pricing of Paxlovid. WHO senior adviser Lisa Hedman says one radio report put a course of the treatment at US$530 in the US. Another source quoted a price of US$250 in an upper-middle-income country. Hedman points out that a course of remdesivir costs US$520, but companies in India are making generic versions that cost US$53 – US$64 per treatment course.

                    Under pressure for putting wealthy countries at the top of the queue when it came to distribution of its vaccine, Pfizer has agreed to allow some companies to make cheaper, generic versions of Paxlovid, as part of a UN-backed scheme. However, the WHO is pushing for more, and has called on the pharmaceutical giant to allow more manufacturers to produce the treatment and to accelerate its availability at more reasonable prices.


                    • #11
                      Thai virologist calls for young children to be protected as under 5s die of Covid-19

                      A leading Thai virologist is calling on parents to protect children under the age of 5 from contracting Covid-19, as there is no vaccine to protect them. According to a Thai PBS World report, Dr Yong Poovorawan from Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Medicine, so far this year, 51 children have died of Covid-19, 39 of whom were under the age of 5. Of those, 19 had some underlying health conditions while the others were healthy.

                      Yong says that while there are currently no Covid-19 vaccines for children under the age of 5 (under Thai public health regulations), the deaths of young, healthy children is unacceptable and can often happen quite quickly.

                      While most children are less likely to have severe Covid-19 symptoms, compared to adults or the elderly, Yong says it’s vital to pay attention to the very young. According to the virologist, China has opted to inoculate children over the age of 3 with the inactivated Sinovac vaccine. But in Thailand, a decision on vaccinating children under the age of 5 would involve several agencies.

                      To date, over 56 million people in Thailand, out of a population of around 69 million, have had their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. 51 million people have had 2 doses, while 25.5 million have received a booster dose.


                      • #12
                        On May 14 and 29. 2022, children can get Pfizer vaccines at Phuket Airport

                        Phuket International Airport will have walk-in Pfizer vaccinations for children 5-11 years old on May 14 and 29.2022 Parents can bring their children to get vaccinated at Terminal X from 9am to noon on both dates. The Phuket Provincial Health Office’s Facebook post about the vaccinations includes a graphic that only mentions “shots 1, 2” for children 5-11 years old.

                        The writing in the Facebook post says, however, that people 12 years old and older can get shots 1, 2, 3 and 4. The PPHO added that people who have had Covid-19 before, and want to get a Pfizer vaccine, must have recovered at least 3 months ago.

                        Early this year, Thailand rolled out Pfizer vaccines to children 5-11 years old. Children 9-11 years old were targeted in the rollout, and got priority in the first shipment. The Pfizer vaccine has been repeatedly proven to be safe for children according to global data, and the National Communicable Disease Committee recently recommended Pfizer vaccines for the children of Thailand.

                        In other countries, younger children have been allowed to get vaccinated. In February, Cambodia became one of the first countries to give Covid-19 vaccines to children younger than five years old. Other countries vaccinating children under five include China, Bahrain, and Cuba. China and Bahrain started targeting kids between three and 11 years old last year, while Cuba started vaccinating children as young as two.

                        Cambodians waiting in line to get their children vaccinated told reporters they were grateful to the government for allowing young children to be vaccinated.