The decision was made at a meeting on Tuesday (Oct 19) of the subcommittee on COVID-19 management including virologist Yong Poovorawan, reports the Bangkok Post.
Formerly infected people who have yet to be vaccinated, or who have only received their first dose, will be eligible for shots of AstraZeneca or Pfizer starting one month after they stop showing symptoms of the new coronavirus.
However, those who have been fully vaccinated are not considered to be in need of a booster shot yet. “Everyone should get a third jab as a booster dose eventually, but more studies are required before we provide detailed suggestions,” Dr Sophon said.
DDC to approve boosters for Sinopharm recipients
Meanwhile, the Department of Disease Control (DDC) plans to offer the AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccine as a booster shot for those who received two inactivated Sinopharm vaccine doses, according to its spokesman.
Director General Dr Opas Karnkawinpong said the DDC’s sub-committee on promoting disease immunity advised on Wednesday that recipients of Sinopharm should receive a third dose of one of the other two vaccines under the government’s guidance.
He said the DDC has made a request to the Chulabhorn Royal Academy (CRA) to submit the necessary documents to the sub-committee so it can consider approving booster shots next month or in early December for people who received their Sinopharm jabs in July. “We need to see the documents from the CRA before we make an announcement to provide the booster shots to those in need,” Dr Opas said.
The CRA is among several organisations that have offered jabs for free. The Sinopharm vaccine is regarded as an alternative option under the government’s policy, with 25 million doses in reserve.
It is believed that recipients of the inactivated Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines require a booster shot from other vaccine makers to boost their immunity against coronavirus, especially the Delta variant. The AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines are mRNA vaccines, believed to be more effective against this strain in particular. As of Wednesday, 6.8mn people had received their first dose of Sinopharm while 4.8mn had received two doses, says the Public Health Ministry.
The DDC said the country should have provided 70mn vaccine shots by next week. So far, it has given 68.5mn doses. It said 54.2% of the public have received their first shot, 38% their second and 2.9% their third.
The government is planning to provide 30mn more doses this year. together with preparing an additional 120mn doses of vaccine for next year.
Some 15mn doses of AstraZeneca and 10mn doses of Pfizer are expected to arrive next month.
Boys can get two Pfizer shot doses
Elsewhere, the Public Health Ministry has decided that boys aged 12-16 can get two doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
Dr Opas said there were concerns about potential myocarditis among boys aged 12-16 so at first, the ministry decided to give only one shot.
He said after consulting with paediatricians who specialise in infectious diseases and heart diseases and reviewing research findings, the ministry has concluded the risks are real but very low and those with mild symptoms can fully recover without medical assistance.
“It has been decided that boys aged 12-16 can get two doses of the Pfizer vaccine but on a voluntary basis. The vaccination must not be used as a condition for returning to class,” he said.
He said the ministry will closely monitor the health of the children after they receive the jabs.
According to the ministry, as of Oct 19, a total of 1,325,527 students aged 12-18 have received their first shot of Pfizer vaccine since the launch of nationwide Pfizer inoculations for young people aged 12-18 on Oct 7 ahead of the reopening of schools next month.
The target is to vaccinate five million students aged 12-18 and about 3.8mn have been registered for the vaccine.
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said the ministry plans to inoculate all students who study in formal and non-formal education.