Dr. Chalermpong Sukontapol, Director of Vachira Phuket Hospital, led the medical team comprising of nurses and medical personnel to receive their third vaccination in an effort to “enhance immunity and build confidence in serving people”.
The start of the booster-shot campaign came after Dr Chalermpong stated on Wednesday (July 21) that around 7,000 medical personnel would receive their additional jab by the end of the week. The vaccine being administered is AstraZeneca.
The vaccination drive will soon extend to a further nine hospitals on the island including the Public Health Office and the Tambon Health Promoting Hospital.
Almost 100% of medical personnel in Phuket have received two doses of the Sinovac vaccine since the initial drive began in April but will now start receiving their third shot to boost immunity.
The Ministry of Public Health has confirmed a choice of two vaccines – AstraZineca, which is available immediately, or mRNA vaccination, such as Moderna or Johnson &Johnson which the Department of Health has confirmed will be available in late July or early August.
Dr. Chalermpong confirmed that he received the AstraZeneca shot yesterday to serve as a booster: “I am confident in the quality and still consider [it] the best vaccine. It is also the vaccine we have the fastest access to.”
He added that many fellow medical workers shared his sentiment and were happy after receciving the AstraZeneca jab as a booster yesterday.
Dr. Chalermpong also said that the Ministry of Health recognises how important the third booster jab is for frontline medical staff who have worked extremely hard during the pandemic in an environment of high risk to their health.
Additionally, a request for third-dose vaccination has been been submitted to the Ministry of Public Health for “outpost personnel” such as those operating under the Phuket Sandbox who will come into regular contact with tourists as part of their job and therefore also face risks.
However, due to increasing cases of infection nationwide and many provinces still needing vaccines, it remains to be seen whether the request will be granted immediately.
The news of two different vaccine being administered to medical staff in Phuket came on the same day it was confirmed a woman in Prachuap Khiri Khan died from swelling of the brain one day after she received AstraZeneca as her second shot after having initially received the Sinovac dose as her first shot.