Anutin defends his fourth Covid shot
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Anutin defends his fourth Covid shot

Health minister claims another AstraZeneca shot is necessary for him to enter Switzerland

(Bangkok Post File Photo)
(Bangkok Post File Photo)

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul has said he would need a fourth shot of Covid-19 vaccine because he needs to attend a meeting abroad.

The Bhumjaithai Party leader, 55, received two Sinovac shots in February and later an AstraZeneca shot as the booster. But since he needs to attend a World Health Organization meeting in Switzerland late this month, he said he would need another AstraZeneca shot to qualify for entry without quarantine.

Mr Anutin told a meeting at the ministry on Thursday that Thailand could be the first country to start administering fourth shots.

“Now that more countries have reopened, we may have to rethink our vaccination strategy. Not every country approves entry [without quarantine] of people who have been vaccinated with the Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines, or the mixed regimens recommended by the [Thai] government,” he said.

The ministry earlier recommended a mix-and-match approach of vaccinations based on local research. Under it, Sinovac was picked as the first shot and AstraZeneca as the second. Another formula adopted later was AstraZeneca-Pfizer. 

Mr Anutin cited himself as an example of people who might have trouble travelling abroad, saying he would need the fourth shot because he needed to attend the meeting in Switzerland. 

“I need a pair [of the vaccines] they accept. Since they don’t approve Sinovac, I have to get another AstraZeneca [shot],” he said.

However, Swiss entry rules show Sinovac is one of the vaccines the country approves.

The minister’s comments led to speculation that he might be admitting for the first time the Chinese-made vaccine might be inferior.

Mr Anutin clarified the next day that this was not the case. The fact that he needed another shot was due to different standards adopted by countries.

“All vaccines save lives and all vaccinated people don’t have critical symptoms or die when they contract the virus,” he said.

He added that people who need to go abroad or those who get Sinovac or Sinopharm shots earlier can register to get mRNA vaccines.

Nobody wanted to get too many shots, he said. “Too much antibody is not good, except for those who, like me, have to go abroad.”

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