‘Group 608’ is officials’ preferred term for higher at-risk patients, comprising people over 60 years old along with those suffering from any of the seven recognised medical conditions that place patients at higher risk of developing serious signs of infection, plus women more than 12 weeks pregnant.
On Thursday (Mar 24) PPHO Chief Dr Kusak Kukiattikoon visited Rawai Sub-district to witness the launch of ’Save 608 by Booster Dose’ in the southernmost past of the province. 24 people received their shots on that day, PPHO reported in a Facebook post.
On Friday (Mar 25) Dr Kusak went to Srisoonthorn in the central part of Phuket to launch the campaign in Thalang. 61 residents were vaccinated there on that day.
Phuket health officials are specifically concerned with the elderly being exposed to greater risk of infection during the upcoming Thai New Year Songkran festival, when many people return to their family homes to visit their relatives.
As of Mar 26, no less than a half of 10,000 people in ’Group 608’ received their booster shots and the campaign is ongoing. According to Dr Withita Jangiam, deputy director of Vachira Phuket Hospital, receiving two doses of vaccine reduced the chances of death by six times, a statistic that decreased by 41 times after having received a third booster shot.
Dr Withita urged those within the 608 group to register for their third booster vaccination shots, if they had not already done so. Alternatively, walk-ins are permitted for those within the 608 group at their nearest hospital.
On Friday (Mar 25) Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha instructed provincial governors and health officers to devise measures to contain COVID-19 over Songkran.
Government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana stressed that vaccination of elderlies is considered one of the key measures. Other precautions include refraining from group activities, working from home, delaying non-essential travel, practicing the VUCA (Vaccine, Universal Prevention, COVID-19 Free Setting, ATK) and DMHTT (Distancing, Masks, Hand washing, Temperature checking, Thai Chana) measures.
The Department of Disease Control (DDC) said the most optimistic outlook for Songkran is one where these precautions are fully implemented, in which case daily infections would taper off to around 20,000 from the middle of this month.
In the worst-case scenario, with precautions used sparingly, infections may spike to 100,000 a day until the middle of April, said the DDC.
The country registered 26,234 more COVID-19 cases and 67 new fatalities during the previous 24 hours, the Public Health Ministry announced this morning (Mar 26).
Bangkok had the highest number of new cases at 3,739 yesterday, followed by 1,645 in Nakhon Si Thammarat, 1,090 in Chon Buri and 902 in Samut Prakan. Phuket marked 269 new COVID cases and one death.