The Ministry of Public Health is urging people who have received two doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to get a third dose from the same brand as a booster to protect against the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant.
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, citing academic studies, said on Friday (Dec 24) that those who receive three AstraZeneca jabs are at greatly reduced risk of contracting the Omicron strain.
He also noted that Thailand, with its own AstraZeneca manufacturing facilities, will be able to deliver 61 million doses by year-end, with another 60 million to be delivered at the start of 2022.
Dr. Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of the Department of Disease Control (DDC), meanwhile said findings by researchers at Oxford University in the UK indicated that three AstraZeneca doses provide the same efficacy against the Omicron strain as two provide against the Delta variant.
He added that rollouts of Pfizer jabs for children aged 5-11 will not be rushed due to injections requiring consent from parents.
Dr. Apisamai Srirangson, the assistant spokeswoman for the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), said the agency is also working with Oxford University to develop a vaccine specifically for the Omicron variant.