The Deputy Minister of Public Health, Dr. Satit Pitutecha, insists that the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Sinovac Biotech is very safe, and doses of it will be given first to high-risk groups in five provinces declared red zones. The Department of Disease Control expects the vaccine will be registered for emergency use this week.
The Director-General of the Department of Disease Control, Dr. Opas Kankawinpong, said that the government has a clear policy to provide an effective and safe vaccine, which has the acceptance of the people, and commenting that Thailand has a good monitoring system. Currently, one company has submitted documents to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure its safety and effectiveness. The vaccine could be registered for emergency use this week. The doses will be administered to the public next month, as planned.
Health authorities will follow up on people injected with COVID-19 vaccines over the subsequent four weeks. If there are any undesired effects, a committee will examine related data, including the recipients’ medical history, to determine whether the effects are associated with the vaccine. The recipients will not be given more doses until the cause is clearly established. The Thai public can rest assured that the vaccine is safe and effective, he added.
Dr. Satit answered a question from a Senator about the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines procured by the government, saying the government is procuring the vaccines mainly from two companies: Sinovac Biotech from China and AstraZeneca from Oxford University. The vaccine developed by Sinovac Biotech is extremely safe and has demonstrated a 50 percent efficacy, while the AstraZeneca’s vaccine has also been fully tested.
The vaccines from both companies will be administered to the people according to the guidelines of the committee on vaccine distribution. The first 200,000 doses will be given to high-risk groups in five red-zone provinces. The high-risk groups include people over 60 years old, people with congenital diseases, medical workers and people who are in close contact with the infected.
Another 800,000 doses will arrive in Thailand in March. They will be administered to high-risk groups outside these five provinces. All members of the public should have access to the doses in June and July, this year. (NNT)