12 July 2024

People aged 60 or over in Thailand now have the option of having the Chinese-made Sinovac, instead of just AstraZeneca’s vaccine, in a sudden change of policy by the National Communicable Disease Committee (NCDC).

Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said today, after a meeting of the NCDC, that the committee had received an updated report on the efficacy and safety of Sinovac vaccine and agreed that it could be given to people over 60.

He said inoculation with Sinovac for the over 60s will begin after clearance of a legal issue by Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Some elderly people are hesitant to take the AstraZeneca vaccine, after reports of a handful of serious side effects, such as blood clots, in some European countries.

The committee also discussed the expansion of vaccination facilities and vaccination for the 16 million workers.

Disease Control Department Director-General Dr. Opart Karnkawinpong said that vaccination of the working age group could start in June, the same time as for those aged over 60s, noting that the number of employees registered to receive vaccinations is still low.

Meanwhile, Russian-made Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V has not been approved for use in Thailand yet, as certain vital information regarding production procedures, quality control, efficacy, safety and risk management of the vaccine remains missing.

FDA Secretary-General Dr. Paisal Dunkhum said today that his office is still awaiting such information from KinGen Biotec, a Thai importer of the Sputnik V vaccine.

He said that the requirement for this vital information is internationally recognised standard practice for the assessment of a vaccine before an approval is granted, adding that the assessment will take about 30 days from the receipt of the documents.