The Interior Ministry has issued its most urgent order yet to local authorities requiring that they are ready to begin vaccinating their student populations at the end of September.
The Interior Ministry’s order yesterday also gave notice that the Public Health Ministry has allocated supplies of the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 12 or over.
The local authorities must also make sure they receive consent from every student’s parents before they can administer the jab, as well as provide them with relevant information regarding the benefits and rare but occasionally serious side-effects of the new COVID-19 vaccines.
Education Ministry spokeswoman, Kesthip Supawanich, said after Supat Champathong, permanent secretary for education, and Amporn Pinasa, secretary-general of the Office of the Basic Education Commission, outlined the national vaccination strategy to education agencies and concerned groups of parents, most expressed an interest in proceeding with immunising the nation’s youngsters.
Ms Supawanich said the ministry is seeking to vaccinate 4.5 million students between 12 and 18 years old, including students in schools run by the ministry and other agencies such as the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, the Department of Local Administration, Buddhism schools, border patrol police schools, and Pattaya municipality and City Hall.
Nevertheless, parents must give their consent first, she said.
Chulabhorn Royal Academy secretary-general Nithi Mahanonda is spearheading a “Vacc 2 School” programme at the National Telecom Public Company Limited which has already seen 2,000 receive their jabs.
He said the programme has been launched both as a pilot and to prevent COVID-19 from spreading among students.
Dr Mahanonda said he believed it essential that disruption is kept to a minimum and was hoping the Food and Drug Administration would approve enough brands so that supplies would reach the poorest areas where educational inequality was felt most.
He also gave reassurances that most side-effects are very mild and, at worst, minor fever and soreness at the injection site.