11 July 2024

Thailand may get its first emergency shipment of COVID-19 vaccine this week, ahead of schedule, and vaccinations should be able to begin in February, according to Dr. Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of the Disease Control Department.

He said today that a manufacturing company, which he did not name, had already submitted detailed information and samples of their vaccine to the Thai Food and Drug Administration for examination and tests of its efficacy and safety.

He said that the vaccine is expected to be approved by the Thai FDA, that the first lot of the vaccine will be in Thailand within this week and that vaccination can start in February as planned.

Dr. Opas also said that, after mass vaccinations, there will be a follow-up system to monitor the condition of those inoculated for any negative side effects, adding that, if there are, a committee will investigate each case to determine whether the symptoms are linked to the vaccine.

He indicated that, if it is proven that they were not related to the vaccine, then the vaccination program will continue, but that, if there is any doubt regarding the safety of the vaccine, it will be suspended until it is proven safe for use.

Since the COVID-19 vaccine is new, he said that safety is the top priority and, hence, the need to test its efficacy and safety and to monitor results.

While describing vaccines as just a tool to contain the virus, Dr. Opas said prevention is still necessary through the wearing of face masks, regular hand washing with sanitizer and social distancing.