Phuket boy's blindness due to sinusitis, not Pfizer jab

Phuket boy's blindness due to sinusitis, not Pfizer jab

A press conference is organised at Vachira Hospital in Phuket on Monday to explain the boy's blindness. (Photo: Achadthaya Chuenniran)
A press conference is organised at Vachira Hospital in Phuket on Monday to explain the boy's blindness. (Photo: Achadthaya Chuenniran)

A 12-year-old boy in Phuket did not lose his sight because of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine but due to severe complications from sinusitis, medical experts on the island province said.

At a press conference on Monday, Vachira Hospital director, Weerasak Lorthongkham, said Nonthaphat Sae-ong's blindness was not a severe side effect of the Pfizer vaccine, which he received on Nov 25 last year, as claimed by his relatives.

On Sunday, Nonthapat's grandparents said their grandchild lost consciousness immediately after receiving his second Covid vaccine shot.

He remained in an intensive care unit for two weeks, and when he regained consciousness, he found that he could no longer see.

Instead, Dr Weerasak said experts at the hospital have concluded that the boy's sinuses were infected with Staphyloccocus aureus, which spread to his eyes, optic nerves and spinal cord, causing his blindness.

While the bacteria is commonly found in the human body, immuno-compromised individuals may go on to develop severe symptoms, studies have suggested.

Withita Chaeng-Iam, the hospital's deputy director, brushed aside claims about the vaccine's side effects, saying the onset of his blindness happened to coincide with his vaccination.

According to Dr Withita, the most commonly reported severe reaction to the vaccine is myocarditis, which affects 10 children out of three million.

Doctors from Songklanagarind Hospital have been assigned to help him get used to his condition, while Phuket authorities will liaise the Social Development and Human Security Office to provide welfare assistance for his family, said Phuket governor Narong Woonciew.

Authorities will bring Nonthapat to Siriraj Hospital to receive more specific care before his case is handed over to local doctors, he added.

Nonthapat will be eligible to receive a disability allowance of 1,000 baht a month, and his treatment and future education will be covered by the Children Fund.

Dr Withita said the hospital will vaccinate students aged between 12-18 next week, as authorities are aiming to completely vaccinate children between the ages of 5-11 by the end of the month.

Last month the National Health Security Office said it had provided more than 1.7 billion baht in financial compensation to more than 14,000 people who developed adverse effects from Covid-19 vaccinations. Compensation has been provided since April 5 last year.

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