As Thailand’s COVID-19 infections have yet to peak, the public should comply strictly with measures and restrictions which are meant to contain the spread of the virus, such as getting a vaccine as quickly as possible, urged the dean of Siriraj Hospital’s Faculty of Medicine, Prasit Watanapa, on Tuesday.
Dr Watanapa, who spoke on Facebook to provide an update on the country’s COVID-19 situation, said he arrived at the conclusion after assessing daily case figures and trends.
According to him, Thailand’s Covid cases have yet to peak as there are still many people who violate public health guidelines and restrictions which are intended to curb the spread of COVID-19, by gathering in public places.
He also added some schools are still organising activities, which facilitates the rapid spread of the virus.
“But if everyone strictly complies with COVID-19 measures I believe the number of new cases will drop sharply between September and October. Meanwhile, the government must speed up vaccinations to cover at least 25% of the population by the end of this month,” he said.
“I’d say this is possible if no unexpected events, such as a massive cluster outbreak, take place.”
Dr Watanapa said that the Delta variant of COVID-19 has prompted the global community to strengthen safeguards to prevent disease transmission.
For example, the United States has been recording around 100 deaths per day, compared with thousands a day before its mass vaccination rollout. Similar results can be seen in other countries such as the United Kingdom, France and Italy.
He went on to say that while vaccines do protect their recipients from developing severe symptoms and death from COVID-19, a study carried out by the University of Wisconsin showed that the viral load on nasal swabs conducted on vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals doesn’t differ much.
“This new information has shown us that the vaccine alone won’t be enough to prevent outbreaks. Social-distancing measures are still needed. Moreover, herd immunity can’t happen if there are no vaccines for children,” he said.
He further added that the country will likely get stuck in the same situation until the second generation of COVID-19 vaccines is produced and becomes widely available to the public.
Vaccine manufacturers are expected to produce 12 billion doses of vaccine by the end of this year, far below the previous expectation of 20 billion doses.