WHO nod for Sinovac jabs this week
PM urges public to have faith in vaccine
The World Health Organization is expected to approve China's Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine later this week, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Monday, as he assured that everyone in the country will be inoculated against the disease sooner or later.
The prime minister made the remarks after receiving his second shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine along with several cabinet ministers at Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute on Monday.
Gen Prayut, who received his first dose on March 16, was found to have slightly elevated blood pressure prior to the injection.
According to the premier, the WHO is set to announce its approval of the Sinovac jabs on Friday, though he did not elaborate further when asked about the decision.
While Sinovac's vaccine has yet to get the go-ahead for use by the WHO, it has been approved and used in 45 countries across the globe, the Thai Food and Drug Administration (FDA) previously said.
The vaccine passes the WHO's efficacy threshold as it was found to have a 50% efficacy rate against infections, the FDA said, adding the vaccine has been proven to be able to prevent fatalities by 100%, and hospitalisation from severe symptoms by 77.9%.
Gen Prayut urged the public to have confidence in the Covid-19 vaccines currently in use in Thailand, namely AstraZeneca and Sinovac, saying the Public Health Ministry has already certified both of them in terms of safety and efficacy.
Some side effects have been reported in the country but no one has died from receiving a Covid-19 vaccine here, he said.
To ensure everyone in Thailand will receive a Covid-19 vaccine, Gen Prayut said the government will review and adjust its vaccine distribution plans to reflect the constantly changing outbreak situation.
He admitted there are still some problems in the government's vaccination programme, which may result in a number of appointments being rescheduled, but he insisted that everyone will get the vaccine sooner or later.
While waiting for more vaccines to come, he said, people living in areas with no Covid-19 cases must continue to wear face masks, frequently wash their hands and practise social distancing as ways to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
When asked about the discovery of coronavirus strains first detected in India and South Africa, Gen Prayut said the country's healthcare system is still capable of dealing with patients infected with the new variants.