COVAVAX protein subunit vaccine will be administered to some unvaccinated people and those who are allergic to other vaccines, said Thailand’s Disease Control Department Director-General Opart Karnkawinpong, as Thailand formally took delivery today (Thursday) of the first 200,000 doses of the vaccine from Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) countries.
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul presided over a ceremony to take delivery of the vaccine, in the company of senior health officials and ambassadors of the QUAD countries, which included Australia, India, Japan and the United States.
The vaccine arrived in Thailand on Monday and samples have already been sent to the Medical Sciences Department for examination before they are distributed for use.
Dr. Opart said that, since protein subunit vaccines have not been widely used so far, they will be administered to unvaccinated people or to those who are allergic to the other vaccines, based on medical advice from their doctor and strictly in accordance with the advice on the label, which advocates two doses three weeks apart.
He said that the vaccine will not be used as booster shot yet, pending further study.
Protein subunit vaccines are a type of vaccine which contains harmless and purified pieces of the virus, which have been specifically selected for their ability to trigger immunity. This type of vaccine is already used for other diseases, such as hepatitis B. It is considered safe.
Anutin said that the ministry will continue its campaign to encourage people to get inoculated or get their booster shots, especially students, before the new school term starts in mid-May.
Of some 5.1 million children in Thailand aged 5-11, only about 49.5% have received their first doses of vaccine and only about 4% have received two, hence, the need to accelerate the vaccination rate.
For the 4.7 million people aged 12-17, 87% have received first doses, 74.3% two doses and a mere 1.6% have received boosters.
Seven million doses of vaccines are reserved for student inoculations at schools in May.