The National Vaccine Institute (NVI) has reiterated the importance of getting booster vaccinations against COVID-19 to reduce the risk of severe symptoms and death. The announcement comes after information started circulating via online media about COVID boosters being unnecessary and claiming people can simply get infected with the Omicron coronavirus variant to develop a natural immunity.
The NVI expressed concern for people exposed to erroneous information, insisting that boosters are crucial at a time when the coronavirus is mutating rapidly. It added that they reduce symptom severity, risk of death and the chance for developing Long COVID. Boosters also lower the risk of multisystem inflammatory syndrome children (Mis-C).
According to the NVI, Thailand carried out studies in Chiang Mai on the efficacy of vaccines in both January and March of this year. The studies found that although two vaccine doses did not prevent Omicron infections, they were 85% effective in preventing fatalities. Getting a booster at the appropriate time was meanwhile able to increase transmission prevention by 34-68% and prevent deaths by 98-99%. A fourth dose has been shown to be 80-82% effective at preventing infection with no fatalities reported so far.
The NVI explained that the World Health Organization supports the administering of booster doses, based on real-world efficacy studies.
According to the NVI, booster dose coverage has only reached 35% in Thailand as of April 8. Meanwhile, patients who develop severe symptoms or die from COVID-19 tend to be members of the “608 Group,” for which the NVI said booster dose coverage is still relatively low. The institute, therefore, invites members of the public and especially the 608 group to get boosted as soon as possible.