The national communicable disease committee has announced the approval of Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine for adults aged 60 and over with the Health Ministry pledging to work with the private sector to open 382 vaccination sites nationwide in an effort to accelerate the rollout.
Speaking after chairing the meeting of the national communicable diseases committee, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said now that China’s Sinovac Biotech vaccine has been authorised for use, the next step is for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to process the relevant legal paperwork.
He said the authorisation is based on Sinovac research showing its vaccine is safe for members of that age group who are in good health and is efficacious in stimulating the body to build resistance against the virus.
The approval came despite the World Health Organization reporting on Wednesday that an independent assessment came away with only a “low level of confidence” in the quality of evidence that the risk of serious adverse effects was low for adults above 60.
The same study did, however, back Sinovac claims that two doses of the vaccine are effective in safely preventing transmission in other age groups.
Mr Charnvirakul, who at 55 was the first person to receive a shot of the Sinovac vaccine in Thailand, said the private sector has pledged to help the government open 382 vaccination clinics across the country as it races to vaccinate 50 million people by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, Dr Supakij Sirilak, director-general of the Department of Medical Sciences, yesterday reiterated the safety and efficacy of the AstraZeneca and Sinovac vaccines.
He insisted that both vaccines met the required efficacy, safety, and manufacturing standards, and that the department checked and tested every batch delivered to Thailand.