Thai people will receive the first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine within a week of the first 50,000 doses from Italy arriving in Thailand this month, although the date of arrival is still not specified, said Dr. Thawee Chotepittayasunont, an expert at the National Communicable Disease Committee, at a news briefing on Tuesday.
Noting that all vaccines have side effects, to a greater of lesser degree, he said that 70% of those inoculated with the AstraZeneca vaccine so far developed more side effects after the first than the second dose. Common side effects include inflammation and pain at and around the injection site and other medications can reduce these symptoms.
In case of more serious side effects, Dr. Thawee said sufferers must be admitted to hospital for treatment, adding that about 0.7% of those who develop serious side effects die or experience some disability, for which the state will provide compensation.
According to information from various sources, middle aged people under 65 are more likely to suffer side effects, such as localized pain and swelling, than those who are over 65 years of age.
It was also discovered that 95% percent of serious side effect cases in the US were among women and most of the cases occurred within 15 minutes of inoculation, said Dr. Thawee, adding that this is why those injected with the vaccine must remain at the administration location for at least 30 minutes after their vaccinations.
In addition to the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has already been ordered, he said that Thai authorities have asked the Chinese producer of the Sinovac vaccine for more information about the product, before it can be registered for emergency use in Thailand.
About five million doses of the Sinovac vaccine has already been administered to people in China, Indonesia and Myanmar.
Dr. Thawee stressed that Thai health officials have given top priority to the safety of all the vaccines, but inoculation is voluntary adding, however, that those vaccinated will have a lower risk of becoming infected.
Regarding the question of annual inoculations, he admitted that there is still no definitive answer.
He said that the main objective of vaccinations is to reduce the spread of the virus, suffering and fatalities, citing the case of Israel, where 55% of the population has been inoculated and infection rate has fallen by about 30%.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)