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Covid-19 immunisation in Thailand will start within a week after the the first batch of AstraZeneca vaccines arrive… whenever that is. Health officials initially pushed for Valentine’s Day to roll out immunisations, but no official date has been set and it’s unclear if the vaccine will even arrive this month. Khaosod English says “health officials can’t even agree on Covid vaccine launch date.”

Thailand health officials expect the first 50,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine sometime within the next month… or next. The European Union recently announced plans to tighten rules on exports of coronavirus vaccines and potentially blocking shipments to non-EU countries. AstraZeneca’s vaccine would be shipped to Thailand from Italy.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul told Khaosod English that vaccinations in Thailand won’t happen until March. On the other hand, Tawee Chotpitayasunondh from the National Communicable Disease Committee told reporters that the AstraZeneca vaccine will arrive this month and the first dose administered within a week after arrival.

In an earlier report, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha announced that 19 million people will be vaccinated in the first phase of inoculations, planned to start this month. He said 11 million will be people over the age of 60, 6.1 million people with underlying conditions and 1.7 million people who work in the medical field. Another 15,000 government workers involved in managing the virus will also be vaccinated in the first phase.

At a news briefing yesterday, Tawee outlined the possible side effects from the AstraZeneca vaccine. He says the most common side effects include inflammation and pain around the area the vaccine was injected.

While serious side effects are rare, those with critical cases happen around 15 minutes after vaccination, Tawee says, adding that patients must stay on site for at least 30 minutes after the vaccination as a precaution.

Thailand has also secured 2 million doses of China’s Sinovac Biotech vaccine and health officials expect the first 200,000 doses to arrive this month. Tawee says Thai authorities are asking producers for more information before approving the vaccine for emergency use.

SOURCES: Thai PBS | Associated Press | Khaosod English

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