The government will provide a booster shot against COVID-19 for those who received alternative vaccines, according to Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul.
The minister was responding to questions concerning recipients of the Sinopharm vaccine which was distributed by the Chulabhorn Royal Academy (CRA).
Many recipients of the Sinopharm vaccine, which was rolled out on 24th June, wondered if they were eligible to receive a third dose. The two-dose vaccine was administered three weeks apart. Sinopharm is an alternative vaccine consisting of dead virus particles.
Mr Charnvirakul said the government is ready to provide the booster shoot to those who received an inactivated vaccine but the recipients of Sinopharm will not get their booster shot in this round.
According to the minister, the booster shot is being provided to those who received inactivated vaccines from March to May and those who are medical personnel.
He said the third shot for the public will be rolled out on 24th September to mark Prince Mahidol Day.
Prince Mahidol Day commemorates the prince’s contributions to the development of modern medical education in Thailand and his devotion to the healthcare of Thais.
Mr Charnvirakul said he was confident the country will meet its target of inoculating 50 million people by the end of this year, saying the vaccination rate was as high as 700,000 doses per day.
The remaining 30% of some 1 million public health volunteers are expected to get their second shot of the COVID-19 vaccine by the middle of October, he said.
He also gave assurances that public health volunteers who received two shots of the Sinovac vaccine will get the third dose next month.
“We’re grateful to public health officials who are one of the four pillars of the public health system,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Phanuwat Pankate, deputy chief of the Department of Health Service Support, said public health volunteers played a vital role in the national vaccination programme.
The public health volunteers had advised a total of 4,800,059 people to register for vaccination especially the elderly, pregnant women and people with seven chronic diseases.
Of this number, 1,165,750 people, or about 30%, had been vaccinated, he said.
He said the public health volunteers also kept a close watch on returnees to help prevent an outbreak in local communities.
A total of 306,321 returnees were registered and 16,207 were identified as at-risk and referred to medical personnel for testing.