11 July 2024

A Thai man is facing charges for criminal defamation, and possibly computer crimes, for allegedly adding, to the Thai language Wikipedia entry for controversial Thai virologist Prof. Dr. Yong Poovorawan, a claim that Dr. Yong is the “Sinovac salesman for the Prayut Chan-o-cha administration”.

Police searched the Bangkok home of a 24-year-old engineering graduate yesterday (Monday) and confiscated his mobile phone, which is thought to have been used for the alleged crime. This followed a complaint filed by Dr. Yong’s representative. The phrase has since been deleted from the Wikipedia page.

Dr. Yong, a famed virologist who heads Chulalongkorn University’s Center of Excellence in Clinical Virology, has voiced several medical opinions deemed to be in favour of the government’s vaccination campaign, which relies heavily on China’s whole virus Sinovac vaccine, amid recent expert findings that it is ineffective in fending off the highly contagious Delta variant, and growing calls for more and faster procurement of mRNA vaccines.

On Monday, Dr. Anan Jongkaewwattana, a virology researcher at the National Centre for Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC), said clinical research, jointly conducted by BIOTEC and the clinical research centre of the Faculty of Medicine of Thammasat University, has found that the efficacy of two doses of Sinovac vaccine drops by half every 40 days.

Yesterday, Dr. Yong held a press conference advocating for the National Communicable Disease Committee’s (NCDC) decision on Monday to use the “mix and match” vaccination approach, whereby the British-Swedish AstraZeneca vaccine will be used as a second dose for those who have received only one dose of Sinovac, 3-4 weeks apart, and as a third “booster” shot for medical personnel, most of whom have received both doses of Sinovac.

Dr. Yong said the approach will work well, and faster, in boosting the immunity level, as two doses of AstraZeneca are normally administered 10-12 weeks apart.