No need for Covid boosters
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No need for Covid boosters

Most people do not need to get a booster against the latest strain of Covid-19, except for vulnerable groups and the unvaccinated, as the symptoms are relatively mild and the vaccine must be paid for, according to virologist Yong Poovorawan.

Dr Yong, from the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology at Chulalongkorn University, said the severity of the virus has consistently decreased, similar to other respiratory illnesses, thanks to the high levels of vaccinations and herd immunity.

Nearly 90% of the population have now been infected by the virus. The rest -- mainly elderly people who spend the majority of their time at home -- have managed to escape infection since the onset of the pandemic.

As Covid-19 has become endemic, seasonal flare-ups are to be expected like other respiratory diseases. In Thailand, these outbreaks are prevalent during the rainy season, while countries with long winters will see a surge of infections due to the protracted cold.

"In Thailand, Covid-19 outbreaks are common during the rainy season or at the start of a new school semester," Dr Yong said.

"Most patients have mild symptoms and can take care of themselves," he said, adding, "the hospitalisation rate is also lower than at the same period last year".

Dr Yong said the cumulative number of deaths from Covid-19 this year should not exceed 300, similar to influenza. The severity of Covid-19 and the hospitalisation rate are also expected to ease further.

Asked about Covid-19 vaccines, Dr Yong said the National Health Security Office (NHSO) no longer receives a subsidy to distribute them free of charge.

There is no need for healthy children, adults or elderly people to get booster shots due to the relatively high price, he said.

"Anyone wishing to be vaccinated must pay for it out of their own pocket, and the vaccine is expensive.

"The demand for the vaccine has dropped, so supplies are limited, driving up retail costs," he said.

The Department of Disease Control (DDC) released a weekly report on the Covid-19 infections nationwide between May 26 and June 1. It found 1,863 cases are being treated in hospitals, with a weekly average of six deaths.

The number of cases has reached 20,483, with 132 deaths.

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