WHO Thailand Says Pandemic Not Over Yet & Urges People To Get Vaccine

Social Security Workers

The World Health Organization (WHO) is urging unvaccinated people not to hesitate to get inoculated against COVID-19, noting the pandemic is not over yet.

WHO Thailand, Unicef Thailand and the Mental Health Department, recently held an online seminar on “Vaccine Hesitancy: Management and Intervention”. During the event, Jos Vandelaer, WHO representative in Thailand and Director Emergencies for Southeast Asia Region, said vaccine hesitancy stems from unproven claims mixed with fact, fake news and fantasy leading to confusion.

“We are seeing a group who doubts or is not in favour of vaccination, [who have become] much more vocal,” Dr Vandelaer said.

“The group is often [in agreement] with the fake argument. There is no argument saying vaccines would cause whatever other diseases now or in a year.

“The vaccine has gone through several processes and is understood very well,” he added.

“But even more importantly, billions of doses have been given [to people] around the world.

“If these vaccines have serious side effects, these must have been shown in real life by now.”

He said another concern surrounding COVID-19 is unequal global vaccine coverage, particularly in the African region, making people living there vulnerable to the coronavirus.

Dr Vandelaer said it is crucial that everyone in the world becomes immunised to stop the spread of COVID-19 and obstruct the kind of virus circulation that caused mutations to happen.

“The virus can always mutate and it would do that, but it needs to circulate to mutate,” he said.

“And the circulation becomes difficult if there is immunity around, that means if people are vaccinated.”

Regarding the perception that the pandemic is ending, Dr Vandelaer said it is too early to reach that conclusion.

“We do not know what is going to happen. Is there going to be a new variant? Or will there be more infections, more than Omicron or more than Delta?

“We do not know that yet and it is premature to assume that after Omicron, everybody will have immunity,” he said. “That is too premature. I think we have to wait and see.”

He said the virus will stay around in one form or another, adding people will have to learn to live with the virus and regularly get booster shots.

“Maybe these vaccines need to be tweaked to adjust with new variants of the future,” he added.