Expert warns of jabs' limits
An expert is warning that the African and Brazilian variants of the Covid-19 virus must be prevented from spreading in the country, as several reports suggest that currently available vaccines aren't fully effective against the mutated strains of the coronavirus.
The head of Chulalongkorn University's Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology, Yong Poovorawan, said the mutated variants' surfaces are covered by protein spikes which differ to the ones that coat the surface of strains discovered earlier on in the pandemic.
The proteins give the mutated virus a different shape, which a vaccinated individual's immune system can't recognise as easily as strains on which the vaccines were based on, Dr Yong said.
"As such, we have to be cautious about which novel variants are being 'imported' into our country," Dr Yong said at a press conference at the Public Health Ministry yesterday.
Dr Yong suggested enhanced quarantine measures as the first line of defence against the mutated strains, although he also noted their limitations -- as evidenced by the presence of the UK strain in Thailand despite best efforts to keep it out.
He also urged the public to be less concerned about what vaccines they will get, as all vaccines have been clinically proven to be safe and significantly reduce the number of patients suffering from severe symptoms.
"We can be assured about the quality and efficacy of the vaccines, including those that we have here in Thailand," he said.