Ministry Races Against Time To Vaccinate Senior Citizens

Sophon Iamsirithaworn
Sophon Iamsirithavorn

The Ministry of Public Health is racing against time to give COVID-19 vaccines to target groups, especially senior citizens, to reduce their death rate.

Sophon Iamsirithavorn, deputy chief of the Department of Disease Control, said an aggressive vaccination campaign for the elderly is ongoing, with 20.28 million doses administered.

In Bangkok, 900,000 senior citizens (87%) have been already given the vaccine. However, less than 50% or only 3.668 million seniors nationwide have received the vaccine, says the Mor Prom app.

“The ministry will speed up vaccinations among our target group,” Dr Iamsirithavorn said. “We want to give the vaccine to elderly people, up to 70% of the population in the red dark zone and 50% in the other zones. That way, we can reduce the number of deaths by half.”

“Even one dose of AstraZeneca vaccine could prevent a loss of life. We would like to invite all senior citizens to receive the vaccine as fast as possible to reduce their chances of dying.”

He added there is clear evidence that vaccinations could reduce death and illness among seniors.

Meanwhile, Chakkarat Pittayawong-anont, director of the epidemiology division at the Department of Disease Control (DDC) said that daily infections figures suggest a limited chance to stop the disease, but it is possible to see the outbreak peak in the next two weeks.

Dr Pittayawong-anont said that there are only two measures to limit the increasing infection — by preventing infections at home and going to get the vaccine, especially senior citizens.

Yesterday, the country saw a new high rate of fatalities with 212 cases, of which 172 (89.5%) were unvaccinated.

Meanwhile, 67% of the deceased were the elderly, 26% were people living with a chronic disease and 1% were pregnant.

According to the ministry, 9.96 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine have been given, followed by 8.958 million doses from AstraZeneca and 1.419 million doses from Sinopharm.

Regarding the 1.5 million doses of Pfizer vaccine donated by the US, the ministry has provided 446,160 doses to 170 main hospitals in 77 provinces where 46,000 medical staff get the first lot, the ministry said.

It plans to provide the vaccine to 700,000 medical staff and other health workers nationwide.