First vaccine batch due later this month
Thailand's first batch of 1,000 monkeypox vaccine doses is expected to arrive later this month, but the authorities have yet to decide who should get them first, according to the Department of Disease Control (DDC).
DDC chief Dr Opas Karnkawinpong responded to media questions on the matter during a press conference on Monday.
"We are debating who should get the vaccine [first]," he said. "It should be provided to bisexual men or people living with low immunity."
"[Monkeypox] is a very sensitive issue," he added. "We are not sure if [bisexual men] will come to get the vaccine."
He said the first lot of the doses will be available to 500 patients. The jab derives from a third-generation smallpox vaccine.
The department's academic committee will make the final decision on who should get the vaccine first, he said.
He said the monkeypox infection rate is slow and symptoms are not severe.
The vaccine is not necessary for everyone because the side effects can be severe, he said.
The department has also suggested that provinces with high numbers of foreign visitors, especially from Europe and Africa, set up a screening and report system. For self-prevention, it recommended that people refrain from unprotected sex.