Covid vaccine: Thailand decides to combine jabs as cases spike

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Thailand has changed its vaccine policy to combine China’s Sinovac with the AstraZeneca vaccine in a bid to spice up protection.

The decision comes after many medical workers caught Covid despite being fully vaccinated with Sinovac.

Instead of two Sinovac shots, people will now receive the AstraZeneca vaccine after their first Sinovac shot.

Health workers already fully vaccinated with Sinovac also will receive a 3rd booster from a special vaccine.

This can be either the AstraZeneca vaccine or an mRNA vaccine-like Pfizer/BioNTech. This third dose is going to be given three to four weeks after their second Sinovac jab, said the country’s National communicable disease Committee on Monday.

AstraZeneca is currently the sole vaccine available within the country, with Pfizer/BioNTech shots donated by the US set to arrive soon.

Thailand first received Sinovac vaccines from China and commenced giving shots to its doctors in February.

On Sunday, the health ministry said out of quite 677,000 medical staff who were fully vaccinated with Sinovac, 618 were infected between April and July. One nurse has died and one medical staff remains in critical condition.

According to a study published within the New England Journal of drugs showing results from Chile, Sinovac has an efficacy rate of 65.9% against Covid-19, is 87.5% effective at preventing hospitalization, and 86.3% effective at preventing death.

Thailand is currently within the midst of a spike of the latest infections, reporting a record high of 9,418 on Sunday. The price for the previous day stood at 91, also a record number.

Concerns over the efficacy of the Chinese vaccine amid rising cases have sharply driven demand for other shots offered by some private clinics.

Last week, one clinic selling the US Moderna vaccine on a web shopping platform saw its offer sold out within minutes. The Phyathai Hospital offered 1,800 vaccination slots for one Moderna shot at 1,650 Thai baht ($50, £36) via Shopee.

Overall, Thailand has seen quite 345,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and nearly 2,800 deaths since the start of the pandemic in 2020, consistent with figures collated by Johns Hopkins University from around the world.

There are concerns that the spike in cases in many southeast Asian countries is thanks to the spread of the more infectious Delta variant, first discovered in India.

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