Vaccine drive for 210,000 educators

Vaccine drive for 210,000 educators

Ministry expedites jab campaign

A teacher holds her online class at Suraomai School in Suan Luang district, Bangkok, in June. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
A teacher holds her online class at Suraomai School in Suan Luang district, Bangkok, in June. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

The Ministry of Education will speed up giving jabs to 210,000 teachers as all secondary schools and vocational course students are expected to get fully inoculated by Nov 15.

Suphat Champatong, permanent secretary of the ministry, said on Thursday the government has procured three types of vaccines -- viral vector, inactivated and live attenuated -- for the general public.

The ministry has coordinated with the Disease Control Department to administer vaccines to about 210,000 unvaccinated teachers, which will be allocated by the government, he said.

As for students, Mr Suphat said the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a plan to administer Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to students aged 12–17 attending secondary school and vocational courses.

Students showing adverse side effects from the vaccines will be compensated by the National Health Security Office (NHSO). However, so far vaccination data shows low chances of Pfizer vaccine side-effects on children.

"The government will allocate enough vaccines to students," Mr Suphat said.

"The ministry also expects students will be fully vaccinated by Nov 15, so it will be possible for students to resume their school life in the second semester of the academic year 2021."

As vaccines are being administered to students over 12 years old, questions have been raised over whether 360,000 primary-school students who are about the same age but studying at Grade 6 level will get the vaccine.

Mr Suphat said they could be vaccinated next month but they need to wait for approval from the FDA, which is looking into the use the Pfizer vaccine on children.

Sarawut Boonsuk, deputy director-general of the Health Department, said the US and European countries have approved Pfizer's vaccine for three-year-old children after previously approving the vaccine for children aged 12 and older.

Yet more studies are still needed to ensure the vaccine is safe.

Citing US data, he said a short-term study shows the Pfizer vaccine could cause myocarditis among male recipients aged 0–19 and is mostly found among second-dose recipients.

One case was found among a million local Pfizer recipients and the patient has since recovered, he said.

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