Calls for booster jabs grow after nurse's death
Calls to give medical workers a booster shot are growing after a 30-year-old nurse died after contracting Covid-19 despite having received two doses of the Sinovac vaccine.
News of the death was first shared on Sunday by a Facebook user who goes by the name "Siwakorn Rattanakuntee", who wrote that her cousin "Donut" -- a nurse at a group isolation ward -- died after contracting the virus from her workplace.
"She had received two doses of vaccine that senior public health officials claim can reduce the severity of symptoms and lower mortality. My cousin died today, a week after being infected," she wrote.
Ms Siwakorn said her cousin's death raised questions about the safety of frontline medical workers.
She asked if her cousin would still be alive had she received a more effective vaccine.
The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration had insisted two doses of the AstraZeneca and Sinovac Covid-19 vaccines are about 90% effective in preventing severe symptoms from developing, and deaths. However, many have doubts about the efficacy of the Chinese vaccine in particular.
Thiravat Hemachudha, Chulalongkorn University's Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases chief, reacted to the post by demanding the government urgently give frontline medical workers a booster shot.
He said frontline health personnel face higher risks of infection, and once they are infected, many others will have to be isolated due to the nature of their profession.
Dr Thiravat said Sinovac's jabs were found to be most effective against the virus up to 30 days after a second dose.
From that point onwards, immunity would begin to drop to 30-40%.
He said the booster shot should be a different type of vaccine, citing findings which suggest that another jab confers immunity against more strains, including the highly-infectious Alpha and Delta variants.
"We're not VIPs and we don't have privileges. But it will help us carry on with our work and prevent us from infecting others," Dr Thiravat wrote.