Officials are seeking approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to administer COVID-19 vaccines to younger children, officials said on Thursday.
Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of the Department of Disease Control, said more rigorous testing is required to ensure that prospective vaccines are safe for children, which extends the timeline before they can be approved.
China’s Sinopharm has been tested on sample groups of children and the manufacturer is concluding its study before meeting the FDA soon. Officials were hopeful that a speedy approval may be in the works.
Meanwhile, Sinovac has already been used to vaccinate children in a number of countries. Its manufacturer is also gathering various information on its safety and side effects so it can make a presentation to the FDA.
Thailand has authorised the use of Pfizer for children aged 12 years and older but local authorities will soon have to decide whether younger kids can also safely receive this vaccine. Similar studies are now being undertaken by the US FDA.
As the kingdom has sufficient stocks of all three vaccines, if the FDA approves their use for younger demographics, vaccination drives could begin immediately, officials said.
The government has ordered 60 million doses of AstraZeneca and is mulling ordering another 30 million doses of Pfizer for next year. Thailand has also asked Pfizer to secure a new generation of their vaccine for children to safely use.