Ministry cites positive results from Sinovac-AstraZeneca vaccine regimen

Ministry cites positive results from Sinovac-AstraZeneca vaccine regimen

(Photo by Nutthawat Wichieanbut)
(Photo by Nutthawat Wichieanbut)

The Covid-19 vaccine regimen of China's Sinovac followed by British-developed AstraZeneca is proving safe and successfully boosted immunity among its first 1.5 million recipients, a senior health official said on Thursday.

Thailand in July became the first country in the world to mix a Chinese vaccine and a Western-developed vaccine as cases and deaths surged and the government struggled with vaccine supplies.

"The cross formula has been injected to over 1.5 million people and it is safe. Please don't say things that would create concern," deputy permanent secretary Supakit Sirilak told a news conference on Thursday.

He said Thailand would no longer be giving two doses of Sinovac's CoronaVac.

Just 13% of the population of over 66 million has been fully vaccinated. The majority of the 1.2 million infections and 12,103 coronavirus deaths came after April this year, brought on by the highly transmissible Alpha and Delta variants.

The health ministry said the Sinovac-AstraZeneca combination boosted immunity to the same levels as two AstraZeneca shots and meant vaccinations could be completed faster due to the shorter dose gap.

The formula will be used for most of Thailand's vaccinations, health permanent secretary Kiatiphum Wongrajit said.

Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul has said booster doses will be given to 3 million people who received two Sinovac shots, using a different type of vaccine, likely from this month, 

Sinovac's inactivated virus vaccine has caused concern in some countries about its lower resistance to the Delta variant.

During this week's censure debate on the coronavirus crisis, Mr Anutin said MPs should not to criticise Sinovac, to protect the Thai public and avoid harming ties with China.

"Tarnishing of the Sinovac vaccine by many members [of parliament] may create panic, confusion and concern for the public," he said. 

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