Instead of the second shot being administered 10-12 weeks after the first, the period will be reduced to eight weeks, said permanent secretary for public health Dr Kiattiphum Wongrajit.
The speed up of the booster jabs is being prompted by the heavy prevalence of the Delta variant in the country, he explained.
Dr Kiattiphum said the ministry has distributed a total of 8.5 million doses throughout the country. The shots will be administered to target groups in a vaccination plan laid out by individual communicable disease committee of each province.
The ministry’s latest figures collected from Feb 28 to June 21 showed people have been vaccinated with 7.9mn doses of the vaccine. Of them, 5.6mn were first doses. Also, 5.5mn doses were of the Sinovac vaccine and the rest AstraZeneca.
Initially, the National Communicable Disease Committee decided on June 14 that the first and second AstraZeneca shots should be spaced from 10-12 weeks with the period extendable up to 16 weeks if necessary.
The extension was backed by research in the United Kingdom, he claimed. However, he said the study was conducted before the emergence of the Delta strain of COVID-19.
The ministry has kept up-to-date with the fast-changing pandemic developments in the world which have a direct local impact, he noted.