The emergence of the Omicron coronavirus variant has prompted many countries to encourage more of their citizens to get vaccinated. While Thailand has been no exception, public health authorities nevertheless took time on Friday (Dec 24) to celebrate having achieved their target of administering 100 million doses of the Covid vaccine to the public. Officials are now seeking to ramp up the delivery of booster shots to help fortify people’s immunity against COVID-19.
Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul presided over an event to mark Thailand meeting its 100 million-dose target. Honorary plaques were handed out on this occasion to boost the morale among relevant agencies and personnel. The plaques honored the five provinces with the highest 1st dose coverage for vulnerable groups, the five with the highest 1st dose coverage overall, and provinces with exemplary district-level vaccine management.
The health minister explained that despite the target being met, provincial and public health authorities must now accelerate the delivery of booster doses as the Omicron variant spreads worldwide. He added that evidence over the past month points to boosters being able to reduce the severity of symptoms as well as the risk of death from COVID-19.
The minister also said findings by researchers at Oxford University in the UK indicated that a 3rd shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine is seeing high efficacy in boosting antibody levels against the Omicron strain. He added that he will recommend a 3rd AstraZeneca dose for people who have already been inoculated using AstraZeneca shots for both the first and second shots.