The Ministry of Public Health is ready to provide the first round of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to children aged 5 to 11 on Monday at the Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health.
Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, chief of the Department of Disease Control, said the department has set up guidance on administering the Pfizer vaccine to children in this age bracket. A support system has also been set up for any children who show strong side effects.
Dr Karnkawinpong said healthy children should get the vaccine at school if possible; those who are not in the school system, and children who are in poor health, should get the vaccine at a hospital.
Most healthy kids should wait between eight to 12 weeks before getting their second dose of Pfizer, he said, adding that studies have shown slightly longer intervals can generate better protection against COVID-19.
“We are ready to kick off the COVID-19 vaccine for kids on 31st January at the Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health. Children suffering from chronic diseases will be our first priority,” Dr Karnkawinpong said, adding Thailand is only the second country after Singapore in Asia to receive Pfizer shots for kids.
According to the ministry, there are 5 million children aged 5-11 years in the country, some of whom live with chronic diseases.
The ministry has ordered 10 million doses of Pfizer’s mRNA-based vaccine, with just over a third expected to arrive in the first quarter. The vaccines for children, which require different preparatory procedures, will come with an orange label to differentiate them from the adult versions.
Dr Somsak Lolekha, president of the Royal College of Paediatricians of Thailand, advised parents to get their kids jabbed quickly to fortify them against the disease, insisting it is safe as few negative side effects have been recorded.
“We have found there are fewer side effects among children compared to adults due to the smaller amount of vaccine given,” he said.