Covid-19 immunization in Thailand begins within a week of the first batch of AstraZeneca vaccines arriving … whenever it does. Health officials initially pushed for Valentine’s Day to introduce vaccinations, but no official date has been set and it is unclear whether the vaccine will even arrive this month. Khaosod English says, “Health officials can’t even agree on the start date for Covid vaccines.”

Thai health authorities expect the first 50,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to be delivered sometime next month … or the next. The European Union recently announced plans to tighten regulations on coronavirus vaccine exports and possibly block shipments to non-EU countries. AstraZeneca’s vaccine would be shipped to Thailand from Italy.

Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul told Khaosod English that vaccinations in Thailand will not take place until March. On the flip side, Tawee Chotpitayasunondh of the National Communicable Disease Committee told reporters that the AstraZeneca vaccine will arrive this month and the first dose will be given within a week of arrival.

In a previous report, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha announced that 19 million people will be vaccinated in the first phase of the vaccination, which is due to begin this month. He said 11 million will be people over 60, 6.1 million people with underlying conditions and 1.7 million people who work in the medical field. Another 15,000 government employees involved in fighting the virus will also be vaccinated in the first phase.

At a press conference yesterday, Tawee explained the possible side effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine. He says the most common side effects are inflammation and pain around the vaccine.

While serious side effects are rare, those with critical cases occur about 15 minutes after vaccination, says Tawee, adding that patients must remain on site for at least 30 minutes after vaccination as a precaution.

Thailand has also received 2 million doses of the Chinese vaccine Sinovac Biotech, and health officials expect the first 200,000 doses to arrive this month. According to Tawee, the Thai authorities are asking manufacturers for more information before they use the emergency vaccine.

SOURCES: Thai PBS | Associated Press | Khaosod English

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