Thailand’s health ministry has begun the rollout of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine for the country’s toddlers, according to a Bangkok Post report. It’s understood around 300,000 children, aged between 6 months and 5 years, have been registered for vaccination. Thailand is the first ASEAN nation to offer the vaccine to toddlers, after the US decided to do so earlier this year.
The rollout began at Phra Nang Klao Hospital, in the central province of Nonthaburi, with Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul overseeing things. The minister says toddlers are 3 times as likely to contract Covid-19, compared to other age groups.
“Toddlers, who have a high risk of getting infected, haven’t been able to get vaccinated until now. So, as soon as the situation changed, we didn’t hesitate to order shots for them based on the government’s policy that everyone, regardless of race or religion, can get vaccinated.”
Meanwhile, Dr Opas Karnkawinpong from the health ministry adds that inoculating older children between the ages of 5 and 11 will help prevent Covid outbreaks in schools, allowing onsite learning to continue and avoiding the disruption of online or home learning. Similarly, vaccinating toddlers will help curb the spread of the virus in kindergarten and nursery facilities.
One woman, who took her 4-year-old granddaughter to be vaccinated yesterday, decided to do so as the child is in a high-risk demographic, due to her father being a hospital worker. Mathana Suwanthed says her granddaughter has already contracted the virus once and her family wants her to be able to attend school without worry.
“She’s already been infected with it once. So, we thought it safer to get her vaccinated. Now she can go to school and we don’t have to worry. Yes, we have some concerns about possible side-effects, but we see this as the lesser of two evils.”
SOURCE: Bangkok Post