A campaign for free vaccines launched by the government early this month. Credit: CCSA

Target groups for limited Covid-19 vaccines prioritized

Thailand has prepared itself to deal with Covid-19 vaccines procured from various companies. The first batch of two million doses from China is expected to have arrived in late February

Target groups of the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines have been approved today by the National Communicable Disease Committee.

Chaired by Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, the committee has convened today to consider and approve prioritization of target groups for Covid-19 vaccines as well as a master plan to administer the vaccines in the country.

The committee has endorsed the set-up of a new vaccine administration sub-panel to administer the use of vaccines in the country, in addition.

According to Mr. Anutin, the country needs such the preparedness for use of vaccines against Covid-19 in the future, which are expected to help reduce the rate of infections and deaths while securing the country’s public health system.

As vaccines in the beginning are quite limited, prioritizing target groups is therefore required.

At the committee’s meeting today, target groups for the first batch of the vaccines have been approved. They are medical and public health staff on the frontline, patients with chronic diseases, senior people with ages over 60 years old, and concerned authorities who are on duty regarding disease control such as community public health volunteers, officers at check points, and others.

These people working in the five maximum and strict zones would be the first who receive the vaccines two doses each, Mr. Autin added.

Source: NCDC

First two million doses

The ministry’s permanent secretary, Dr. Kiattiphum Wongrajit said the fist two million doses of the vaccines would be derived from China’s Sinovac starting from late February.

It would be registered by the Food and Drug Administration around the mid of next month (Feb 14), he said, while assuring that the vaccines were developed using conventional inactivated viruses, so they are highly relatively safe.

The first 200,000 doses would be delivered in late February after the registration, then 80,000 more in March, and another one million doses in April.

Another big lot of 26 million doses would be from AstraZeneca (using virus vector), while another 35 million more would be sought from the same company if its vaccines are proved to be effective.

Dr. Nakhon Premsri, Director of the National Vaccine Institute said Sinovac now is 78% successful, while AstraZeneca is 62-90% successful depending on the amounts of doses used.

Dr. Nakhon said the use of vaccines is for emergency and uncommon side effects could occur when it is applied in a large scale. So, studies on side effects of the vaccines are needed to help ensure safety.

So far, Thailand’s infection rate is still high, but it’s relatively stable, according to Dr. Kiattiphum. If disease control measures including stringent ones imposed against the public under the state of emergency could be implemented to help curb the spread of the disease this way, the permanent secretary expected to see the number of new local cases per day decrease to two digits within the next two weeks.

As of today, the virus has not spread further to other provinces, still remaining at 58 provinces. 176 local transmissions reported today, slightly lower than yesterday, which stood at 181. The local cases days before were 187, 131, 193, 250, 82, 152, 274, 182, and 257 (January 1).

The total cumulative case today has stood at 10,547, surpassing 10,000 cases on Saturday following the sharp rise from just around 4,300 cases in mid last month.

Covid-19 vaccine development updates, as of January 9.
*Emergency use with Phase 2 results
**Emergency use with Phase 3 results
Credit: NVI