Toddlers to get free vaccines
At least 47 privately owned hospitals in major cities will provide the Covid-19 vaccine to children aged six months to four years old for free.
The campaign aims to encourage parents to bring their children to get the jab and to help government efforts to administer two million doses to small children by the end of this year.
Dr Chalermkul Apibunyopas, speaking on behalf of the executive committee of the Private Hospital Association said that the private hospitals would like to support the government's policy to vaccinate the toddler group.
To encourage parents, its hospital members have agreed to provide the vaccine for free including 36 hospitals in the Bangkok Metropolitan area and 11 hospitals in Chiang Mai, Saraburi, Chon Buri, and Rayong.
"Any child can receive the vaccine for free even if they have never been patients of the hospitals. The service is available seven days a week," he said, adding that they can check the names of hospitals providing shots via the Department of Disease Control's hotline 1422.
The Ministry of Public Health on Oct 12 launched its campaign to give the Covid-19 vaccine to toddlers aged six months to four years to cover at least two million of them by the end of this year.
It is because toddlers are considered a risk group as the rate of infections is 1.5 times higher than in other child groups while the number of fatalities is triple when compared to other groups, he said.
Dr Somsak Lohlekha, president of the Royal College Paediatricians of Thailand (RCPT), assured the vaccine was safe, saying that parents should not be reluctant to take their young children to get vaccinated.
Meanwhile, Dr Tares Krassanairawiwong, acting chief of the Department of Disease Control, said that the department has not received any report of side effects, even flu symptoms from vaccinated toddlers.
He said that the department would like to have cooperation from local health volunteers to persuade parents to take their children to get the vaccine as fast as possible.