Sinovac fear after 'memo' leaks
published : 6 Jul 2021 at 04:00
newspaper section: News
writer: Apinya Wipatayotin
The medical society is calling on the government to give mRNA vaccines as a booster shot to frontline medical workers, after a leaked official document appeared to oppose third shots for health personnel for fear that might stoke concerns that the Sinovac vaccine does not provide effective protection.
The apparent memo was taken from a June 30 meeting between an academic committee on communicable disease control, a sub-committee on immunisation and a working academic panel on vaccine management in which the distribution of the Pfizer vaccine was discussed.
It is expected that about 1.5 million doses of from Pfizer will arrive this month followed by 20 million more in the fourth quarter.
According to the leaked document, people aged 12-18; the elderly, people with chronic diseases and pregnant women; and frontline medical workers in outbreak areas have been prioritised for the initial 1.5 million doses, which will include Bangkok and the surrounding provinces.
However, one comment recorded in the meeting's notes sparked an outcry, as an attendee opposed the use of Pfizer vaccine as the third dose for medical personnel who have already been vaccinated with Sinovac.
"In the present situation, if the vaccine is given to the third group, it is an admission that Sinovac can't give protection and it will make it harder to find an excuse," according to the document.
#GivePfizertomedicalworkers was soon trending on social media.
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul yesterday played down the issue, saying it was only one opinion and not government policy.
"It will be considered by the communicable disease control committee and the vaccination committee. We don't know how the debate will go," he said.