The information provided below is an unofficial translation of statements made by the Prime Minister this afternoon (January 15th).
“From the recent update meeting on vaccines, I would like to inform the public that the new coronavirus outbreak taking place around the world has meant some countries have had many waves. This tells us that we must adapt and live with the COVID-19 virus like the flu and control the epidemic with a vaccine that needs to be continuously developed.
At the individual level everyone must wear a mask, wash hands, keep a distance and maintain good health in order to have immunity at the national level. When an outbreak occurs, we must limit movement use space and abstain / avoid risky activities as we do now. Of course, This will inevitably have an impact on our lives and the economy.
It is best to get the best vaccine to the people with cost management for disease prevention and control to immobilise infections and benefit public health as well as the national economic system
As of late 2020, there have been more than 32 million doses of the vaccine worldwide; in the United States, approximately 10.7 million doses, over 9 million Chinese doses, 3.7 million European doses and 3.1 million in the UK.
Must understand that we have controlled COVID-19 at a good level and the number of people infected is very small. We are not a serious epidemic area. Therefore, we are not selected as a test for the efficacy and safety of the vaccine as there is not a big enough sample.
There are many countries, including some in ASEAN, where people have been reported to have vaccinated. However, the agency involved in the administration of our vaccines has followed research and development of a vaccine against COVID since after the new outbreak.
In addition, the procurement and vaccination plan for the public has been completed. At present, the vaccine production centre of Siam Biosines Company has received AstraZeneca vaccine production technology from England and began production of the vaccine since mid-December last year.
However, each batch of vaccines is produced takes about 4 months for both production and quality checks by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This cannot be hastened to skip steps which would affect the efficacy and safety of the vaccine. This is important for us to take into account If it goes according to plan.
The first batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be available for injections to the public in June. The government has already ordered 26 million doses to inject 13 million in at risk groups. It has negotiated to buy an additional 35 million doses to cover more people. What I want to let you know is that we are AstraZeneca’s vaccine production base in Southeast Asia. It is an important reason to have faster access to vaccines that are produced.
The health ministry has also ordered 2 million doses of the Chinese Sinovac vaccine, which will arrive in Thailand in February. Although now there is news that the Sinovac vaccine in Brazil has only been 50 percent effective. But I would like to inform you that the medical profession understands the effectiveness of the vaccine was based on trials where it was injected or who was given. There have been previous results of Sinovac vaccine trials in Turkey and Indonesia which injected to a wide range of people at different ages, when it is 90% effective. In Brazil injections were given to medical personnel as a high-risk group which may cause the effectiveness numbers to be lower.
However, the Ministry of Health has made an inquiry to Sinovac to request additional clarity on the effectiveness of the vaccine. For vaccinations to be effective in stopping the outbreak, it must be given to at least 50% of the population, or preferably 70%. For example, if 50% is to be injected, 33 million people will have to inject 66 million doses if starting in June until the end of this year. Will have to inject 9.4 million doses per month or 313,000 doses per day for 12 hours a day, which is 26,000 doses per hour. Therefore, getting as many vaccines as possible by the end of the year is a challenge to public health systems around the world.
From the statistics on the vaccination rates, Israel is doing the best right now: 2 million doses in three weeks (or 2.6 million doses per month), and the US has injected 10 million doses in the first month.
I have instructed the Ministry of Health to start planning the vaccination program now as it is urgent. This is because distribution planning is required. Vaccine delivery security as well as having to set up vaccination centres and prepare personnel and equipment with registered doctors and nurses. Symptoms after injection need to be monitored and the injection site prepared. Rest is needed 15-30 minutes after an injection, evaluated and followed up for the second dose injection
Also the data of the person who injected and types of vaccines. It can be seen that the vaccination plan is very important. As a result, the vaccination will be more or less effective and does not incur unnecessary loss. Therefore, we need management to be centralised so that once the vaccine is obtained, the injection can be started as quickly and smoothly as possible.
Finally, I ask the people to be sure that Thailand is ready to provide vaccines and has a vaccination plan. That will cause results in the prevention of the outbreak. Vaccines that will be given to the public must be effective against COVID aAnd the safest to enable us to return to normal life and open up the country as soon as possible Thank you”