The government will make 4.8 million doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine available for students aged 12-17 nationwide but their parents must accept the risks first, according to the Centre for Covid Situation Administration (CCSA).
There have been reports linking mRNA vaccines such as those made by Pfizer and Moderna to inflammation of the heart muscle, especially in male adolescents and young adults. However, the condition, known as myocarditis, is extremely rare, having been seen in less than one in a million cases worldwide.
“Parents will be informed of the risk and they must give consent before inoculation. It will be on a voluntary basis and will not be mandatory,” CCSA spokesman Taweesilp Visanuyothin said on Friday.
According to Dr Visanuyothin, two doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be administered 3-4 weeks apart for students. Vaccinations will also cover students slightly older than the age range specified.
The Pfizer jabs for students will form 20% of the 24 million doses that the government is planning to administer next month. The total consists of 10 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, 8 million from Pfizer and 6 million from Sinovac.
70% or 16.8 million of the 24 million doses would go to the general public aged 18 and over, who would receive jabs in the Sinovac-AstraZeneca, AstraZeneca-AstraZeneca and AstraZeneca-Pfizer sequences, Dr Visanuyothin said.
Another 800,000 doses will be for workers under the Social Security system, 1.1 million for government organisations including the Corrections Department and 500,000 for people who need third and booster shots under the Sinovac-Sinovac-AstraZeneca sequence.
As of Thursday, 25.9 million people (37.3% of the population) had received their first jab and 10.9 million (15.7%) had received two shots. Weekday vaccination rates have been ramped up to between 600,000 to 700,000 shots, with between 200,000 and 300,000 jabs delivered daily on weekends.