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Thai health officials launch annual Covid-19 vaccination program

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The Public Health Ministry is launching an annual Covid-19 vaccination program, involving a single dose administered once a year. The National News Bureau of Thailand reports that the move is in response to a rise in new cases following the recent Songkran holiday.

The National Communicable Disease Committee has confirmed that any vaccine that has been given Food and Drug Administration approval can be used as a yearly booster for Covid strains. The number of doses someone has previously received will no longer be taken into account in order to consider them vaccinated.

Thailand’s elderly population, as well as those with underlying health conditions, and children under the age of 5, are being urged to consider an annual booster, on the advice of a qualified medical practitioner.

The same advice is being issued to those who work in crowded spaces or who have to interact regularly with a large number of people, as well as to those in the medical profession. Most Thais in service industries are still routinely wearing face masks as part of their personal protection strategy.

According to the NNBT, the vaccine can be given at the same time as the flu jab, by administering each one in different arms. If both vaccines are administered separately, there is no minimum waiting period required between the two.

The report goes on to say that vaccines are available at many hospitals and health clinics across the country and people are urged to get vaccinated ahead of the forthcoming rainy season, considered flu season in Thailand.

In the post-Songkran period between April 23 – 29, the health ministry has reported 1,811 new Covid-19 infections, with 157 patients developing lung infections, 79 requiring ventilators, and 10 Covid-related fatalities.

This latest high compares to 435 new cases between April 9 – 15 and 1,088 new cases from April 16 – 22.

SOURCE: National News Bureau of Thailand

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