Jab centre to stay open extra month
Bang Sue Grand Station's Central Vaccination Centre (CVC) will remain open another month until the end of September as the country works to meet the target of providing first booster shots to at least 60% of the population.
The centre originally planned to close at the end of this month. However, it has decided to stay open a little longer as people continue to seek vaccination and booster jabs in large numbers, according to CVC director Dr Mingkwan Wichaidit.
The extension coincides with the Public Health Ministry's plan to declare the Covid-19 pandemic endemic on Oct 1.
To keep borders open safely to restore an economy battered for more than two years by the pandemic, Dr Mingkwan said people must receive at least one booster shot.
People with at least one booster jab now account for around 50% of the population. The target is to lift that number to at least 60-70%.
The rollout of booster jabs must accelerate, she said, adding the availability of the next generation of vaccines, which are effective against new strains of Covid-19, will be delayed until early next year.
Manufacturers earlier announced the new booster vaccines would arrive in Thailand next month or in October.
Keeping the CVC open allows people who had a booster jab more than four months ago to obtain a subsequent jab at the centre before it closes next month.
If they receive an additional booster next month, they will have enough immunity to last them until early next year when the next generation of vaccines becomes available, Dr Mingkwan said. But then, if the spread of Covid-19 eases, booster shots will be offered at hospitals or clinics, she added.
So far the CVC, one of the world's largest Covid-19 vaccination facilities, has provided 6.3 million doses to people.
Dr Mingkwan said, however, the revised closing date on Sept 30 may be deferred in case of an upsurge of infections.
Even if the CVC closes next month, it must be ready to re-open within a day's notice.
"All vaccination-related equipment and hardware will be stored at Bang Sue Grand Station should the need arise for the CVC to reopen," she said.
The CVC director said the centre's impending closure has spurred elderly people, pregnant women and those with underlying illnesses to get booster shots there either by appointment or walk-in.