Rotavirus shots by next year, govt says
Inclusion decided after successful trials
Health authorities are planning to launch a vaccination campaign for rotavirus, which may cause severe inflammation of the bowels among newborn babies, next year.
Thawee Chotipittayasunon, a member of the National Vaccine Board, said the subcommittee for immunisation programmes approved the plan to start administering rotavirus vaccines after several successful trials were carried out in several provinces.
"If things go as planned, rotavirus vaccinations will be included as a part of Thailand's basic immunisation programme," said Dr Thawee. "Each infant will be given three doses — one at two months, four months, and six months of age."
Rotavirus infections is known to cause severe inflammation of the upper intestines, which usually manifest in symptoms that include severe diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting, and dehydration.
According to the Department of Disease Control, about one million Thais were infected by rotavirus in 2017. Four people died, including three young children.
The virus can be transmitted through close contact with infected people. Children are particularly prone to catching the virus through unclean toys and/or contaminated food.
Dr Thawee also said the board is also pushing to get the vaccine against Invasive Pneumococcal Diseases (IPD) — which cause lung infections — included in the national immunisation programme, possibly by 2021.
"While scientific studies have shown that IPD vaccinations do reduce incidences of respiratory infections, but it was excluded because of its high price," he said.
"Many economic factors have changed since then, so IPD vaccines should now be included in the national programme."