An additional half million doses of vaccines will be sent to Thailand’s four southern border provinces, in addition to the 500,000 sent previously, to help contain the spread of COVID-19 as new infections continue to surge, said Dr. Opart Karnkawinpong, director-general of the Disease Control Department, today (Thursday).
In Songkhla province, 627 new cases and one death were recorded today, with most cases in Jana, Thepa and Hat Yai districts. About 8,000 patients are still being treated in hospitals.
Since most of the new infections are occurring within families, communities and among work colleagues, provincial health officials have stepped up COVID-19 testing, with rapid antigen test kits (ATKs), to enable the separation of the infected as quickly as possible.
Meanwhile, in nearby Yala province, 663 new infections and 6 more deaths were recorded in the past 24 hours. As most of the infections are linked to the Rodfai and Pimon Chai fresh markets, health officials have been accelerating COVID-19 tests between today and Saturday, targeting about 300 vulnerable people.
Dr. Opart said that, while the situation in the southern provinces remains a matter of deep concern, the situation in Bangkok and its surrounding provinces is improving, with fewer infections and deaths.
He said he is optimistic that the daily new infection rate in the capital will be fewer than 1,000 cases in the near future.
He disclosed that that Thailand has already surpassed the target of vaccinating 70% of its population with at least one dose and, by early December, 100 million doses of vaccines will have been administered.
Regarding vaccination of youths over 12 years of age, Dr. Opart recommended that they be given two Pfizer doses, which, he said, will effectively boost the level of antibodies against the Delta variant safely, though the second vaccine jab is voluntary.
Like people who were given two Sinovac doses, he said that the immunity boosting subcommittee has recommended a booster shot for those who have already received two Sinopharm jabs.
The Chulabhorn Royal Academy, which is responsible for procuring the Sinopharm vaccine from China, has been assigned by the subcommittee to compile information about people inoculated with the vaccine.
According to the COVID-19 Information Centre, 9,727 new infections and 10,075 recoveries were logged today, with 73 more deaths.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)