The team based their work on a mathematic modelling carried out by the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis in 185 countries from when the first vaccinations were administered in 2021 until July 3, 2022, reports the Bangkok Post.
Charin Modchange, the research team leader from Mahidol University’s Faculty of Science, said that the analysis suggested that 490,000 additional lives would have been lost if no vaccines had been distributed.
The MRC’s data had estimated that worldwide vaccination programmes prevented 14.4 million deaths from the disease between Dec 8, 2020 and Dec 8, 2021.
“Our team also ran the [MRC’s] mathematical model and the outcome was rather significantly interesting. We found that the death rate in Thailand is below 0.1%, which is very close to that of seasonal flu,” he said.
Earlier, the Department of Disease Control chief, Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, had said that Omicron’s BA.4/BA.5 sub variant produces less severe symptoms than the previous Delta variant, adding that the high number of booster shots given to people has also been an important factor in reducing the number of deaths as well as the severity of symptoms.
Dr Opas said the ministry will keep a close watch on daily infections after the long weekend, insisting that universal prevention and vaccination measures are important to limit transmission.
“We still recommend that the elderly, people living with chronic diseases and pregnant woman should receive booster shots as fast as possible,” he said.
“We have also found that the death toll in these groups is higher among those who receive booster vaccinations late, so we are recommending that anyone who falls under the high-risk category has a booster every three months.”
He further added that the first 7,000 doses of the Long-Acting Antibody (LAAB) combination from AstraZeneca is expected to arrive next week for patients living with kidney disease and or in need of an organ transplant.
According to AstraZeneca, its long-acting antibody combination has been recommended for marketing authorisation in the European Union (EU) as a means of pre-exposure prophylaxis (prevention) of COVID-19 in a broad population of adults and adolescents aged 12 years and older weighing at least 40kg.
The company is going to apply for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in Thailand for the drug to be used to treat the disease.