Songkran visits pose risks for the elderly
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Songkran visits pose risks for the elderly

The Department of Disease Control (DDC) yesterday urged the elderly to get vaccinated against Covid-19 before the start of the Songkran holiday after figures showed increased fatalities rate among older people.

Health officials were expressing concern over an increase in severe cases and fatalities among this group due to possible infections during home visits by family members to celebrate the traditional new year festival next month.

According to DDC figures, as of Saturday, only 4.2 million elderly had received a booster shot, compared with the 10 million who have had their second jab. A total of 2.1 million elderly have yet to receive a single jab at all, they said.

Sopon Iamsirithaworn, deputy director-general of the DDC, said yesterday older people with chronic diseases who hardly go out were among those who had died of Covid-19, noting most had not received a third shot.

He said this group generally contracts the virus from family members, adding they are at risk of developing severe symptoms that can lead to death. Dr Sopon said those not vaccinated should get inoculated before the Songkran holiday.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday voiced concerns about an increase in the number of Covid-19 patients suffering from lung inflammation, said government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana.

The number of these patients rose to 1,432 yesterday, or an average of 18 cases per province, as the bed occupancy rate rose to 25.9%, he said.

The prime minister has instructed agencies to step up the rollout of third doses for the elderly and other vulnerable groups.

According to the Public Health Ministry's daily update yesterday, the country had 24,996 new coronavirus cases, 808 fewer than the previous day, while the death toll fell from 87 to 84. A Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration campaign to hand boosters to 70% of seniors begins today.

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