Thailand: Booster jabs fast-tracked for Omicron

  • The government will expedite Covid-19 booster shots to strengthen people’s immunity in preparation for any local transmission of the Omicron coronavirus variant.
  • Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Ministry Anutin Charnvirakul said 13 Dec 21 that the time for administering a second Covid-19 vaccine shot and a booster will be reduced from four to six months to three months.
  • The move is aimed at assuring the public that even if the new variant spreads, the booster shots will help prevent the worst effects of the virus, Mr Anutin said. He was speaking before attending a meeting of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) to provide an update on the Omicron strain and preparations for administering booster shots.
  • Asked whether the emergence of Omicron will affect New Year festivities, he said that the government will try to allow as many activities as possible to go ahead while monitoring the new strain closely. If Omicron is not as severe as previous variants, people should be able to continue with their normal life as they are now, the minister said.
  • Dr Udom Kachintorn, adviser to the CCSA, said that it will be difficult for Thailand to avoid the new variant and more imported cases are expected to arrive.
  • Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the CCSA, said that an estimated 100 million vaccine doses will be administered to Thais by next 20 Dec 21.
  • For 2022, there will be enough vaccines for at least 80% of the Thai population, with 120 million doses already approved for the national vaccination drive, Dr Taweesilp said.
  • He added that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha also instructed agencies to plan a fourth vaccine shot for 2022 as vaccine manufacturers will come up with new vaccine production technologies to fight the virus.

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