11 July 2024

Secretary-General of “Action on Smoking” and Health Foundation Professor Dr. Prakit Vathesatogkit has come to the defence of the Chinese-made Sinovac vaccine, saying that the negative criticism of the vaccine is “unfair and biased”.

As an expert on lung diseases at Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, and a former dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the university, Dr. Prakit said yesterday (Sunday) on social media that, although he is not a frontline medic treating COVID-19 patients, he has been closely following the performance of medical personnel, especially those specialised in lung diseases, with great concern.

In the current critical situation, he said he has been urging people to get vaccinated, adding that he was inoculated with AstraZeneca vaccine in March, because he is over 60.

He admitted, however, that quite a few Thai people view the Sinovac vaccine with extreme prejudice “not proportional with the truth”, to the point that several of them have rejected it.

Then he cited information about the use of Sinovac vaccine among frontline medics, presented by Dr. Sophon Iamsirithavorn, deputy director-general of Disease Control Department, on July 10th.

According to Dr. Sophon, almost all the 700,000 medics in Thailand were fully inoculated with Sinovac vaccine. Of these, only 800 were infected and seven have died. Of the seven fatalities, five were not vaccinated, one received one dose of Sinovac and the other had two doses.

“That means only one fully inoculated, out of almost 700,000, has died so far,” he pointed out.

He also quoted Dr. Sophon as saying that, in the US, the US CDC reported that, as of June 25th, 750 Americans, who were fully inoculated with mRNA vaccines, have died “which means that there are people who died even though there were fully inoculated with mRNA vaccines.”

In conclusion, Dr. Prakit said all makes of vaccines can reduce the risk of death and severe symptoms, although Sinovac is not as efficacious as mRNA vaccines.

He said that many more Thai medics, and people in general, might have died if they had not been inoculated with the Sinovac vaccine, as he doubted whether Thailand would be able to procure as much AstraZeneca as Sinovac “not to mention mRNA vaccines, which no one knows for sure when they will arrive and how much.”

Dr. Prakit noted that Sinovac has been proven useful under previous circumstances but, as the pandemic situation has changed and the virus has mutated, it has reduced the efficacy of the vaccine.

He urged Thai people to be mindful when judging the efficacy of a vaccine, instead of bias.