Thai netizens fierily debate Pfizer vaccine for students as anti-vaxxers emerge
The Thai hashtag #PfizerForStudents became the top-trending hashtag on Twitter in Thailand for two consecutive days, which resulted in a fiery debate on why some students, dubbed as the Thai version of the so-called “anti-vaxxers”, are refusing to be inoculated with the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.
Among those joining the conversation was veteran DJ Yutthana Boonaom, better known as “Pa Ted”, who posted on his Facebook page that a group of students are against the use of Pfizer, as they’ve been told by their parents not to get inoculated with this vaccine following a widely circulated message sent via the LINE messaging app.
“Pa Ted” also explained that the message in question falsely claims that the Pfizer vaccine is dangerous and that “Pfizer is genocide”, which he said is fake news.
Twitter users also shared that some high school students were disqualified from receiving the mRNA vaccine and were asked to opt for the mix-and-match vaccine regimen instead, as their age is “in between” 17 and 18.
Some of them shared this misinformation, along with messages stating that teachers have asked students voluntarily to opt out of getting vaccinated with Pfizer because there is not enough vaccine for all students.
Other Twitter users claimed that 2,600 secondary students at a school in Phetchaburi province weren’t allowed to receive Pfizer vaccines because the school director did not submit their names to the hospital. One Twitter user, however, tweeted that they have submitted the names already and they will be vaccinated today.
Some people also received a notice saying that they should cut their hair neatly and not colour their hair before getting vaccinated, though students are aware that the dress code and haircuts have nothing to do with the side-effects of COVID-19 vaccination.
It has been four days since the Public Health Ministry began its mass inoculation of students aged between 12 and 18 with the Pfizer vaccine. The aim is to inoculate 5 million students and around 3.6 million have registered so far.
Director-General of the Disease Control Department Dr. Opart Karnkawinpong stated that the use of Pfizer in children has been approved by the World Health Organisation and Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration. As for the side effects, especially myocarditis, or heart muscle inflammation, he explained that only 6 out of 100,000 people experience such symptoms.
Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary of the Public Health Ministry Dr. Kiattibhoom Vongrachit revealed that they’ve found one case of myocarditis related to vaccines. He is an obese 13-year-old boy who has already recovered.