Govt to procure updated jabs
The Public Health Ministry is planning to procure second-generation Covid-19 vaccines in about a month.
Deputy Director-General of the Department of Disease Control, Sophon Iamsirithaworn, said the National Vaccine Institute will hold a meeting in October to discuss the planned procurement.
"A panel will decide which vaccines to get, as well as the amounts, next month," Dr Sophon said.
Even though Pfizer has come up with a new vaccine which specifically targets subvariant BA.4 and BA.5 of the Omicron strain, the NVI still has to carry out its own studies before deciding on a particular brand of second-generation Covid-19 vaccine, he noted.
When asked if the next round of vaccine procurement will focus solely on second-generation vaccines, Dr Sophon said it will be inevitable as vaccine manufacturers will undoubtedly update their products in order to ensure their effectiveness.
Dr Sophon also said the DDC has purchased three million doses of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine to inoculate children between the ages of six months and five years. The jabs, he said, will start to arrive next month.
According to the guideline provided by Pfizer, the first two shots need to be given three weeks apart, while the third dose can be administered after five months from the second, said Dr Sophon.
He estimated only around 40-50% of Thai children in that age group will end up vaccinated against Covid-19, as the decision rests with the parents.
Separately, director of the National Vaccine Institutes, Nakhon Premsri, said that the second phase of clinical trials for HXP-GPOVac, a locally-developed coronavirus vaccine, had started in August.
The other two vaccines, ChulaCov19 developed by Chulalongkorn University, and the plant-based Baiya vaccine by Baiya Phytopharm, are about to finish clinical trials.
Dr Nakhon expected the three vaccines to be available by the end of next year.
He said Thai-developed vaccines will be just as effective and will be used as booster shots.