Thailand to Mix AstraZeneca Shot with Sinovac

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Thailand has developed an immunization strategy to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic by administering a shot of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine after the first dose of Sinovac’s jab.

Thailand said it would use AstraZeneca Plc’s (AZN.L) Covid-19 vaccine as a second dose for those who received Sinovac’s (SVA.O) shot as their first dose to increase protection against the COVID19.

It would be the first such kind of experiment plan publicly announced to mix and match a vaccine.Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul told reporters that this improves protection against the Delta variant and builds a high level of immunity against the COVID19.

The announcement came a day after Thailand’s health ministry said 618 medical workers out of 677,348 personnel who received two doses of Sinovac became infected with Covid-19 from April to July. One nurse has died, and another medical worker is in critical condition. Thailand recorded 8,656 infections and 80 deaths on Monday, among the 345,027 cases and 2,791 deaths.

Thailand implemented more restrictions in Bangkok on Monday with new curbs on movement and gatherings by airlines and buses.The lawmaker also revealed that the notable move is to increase the protection against the highly transmissible variants.

Thailand and neighbouring countries like Indonesia report high infections among healthcare professionals and frontline workers who received Sinovac’s shot. Medical professionals in Thailand received the Chinese vaccine after February, with AstraZeneca jabs arriving in June.

Thailand sets a curfew for the capital Bangkok.

On July 9, Thailand announced a seven-hour extended curfew and other restrictions for Thai capital Bangkok and nine other provinces to stem the rapid increase of COVID-19 cases and deaths. As per The Associated Press, people living in Bangkok and five nearby areas in the far south are required to stay indoors from 9 PM to 4 AM, not hold any gatherings of over five persons and avoid non-essential travels.

Thai Deputy Health Minister Satit Pitutacha said that the restrictions would affect July 12 and will be reviewed after two weeks. Additionally, the shopping centres in greater Bangkok will be closed except for supermarkets, banks, pharmacies, takeout food outlets, and other essential services. The restrictions were announced due to the increasing number of coronavirus infections and deaths.

WHO warns danger in vaccine mixture

After the announcement from Thailand, WHO showed their disagreement with the mixture of vaccination. Soumya Swaminathan, the World Health Organization’s chief scientist, warned to the people mixing and matching COVID-19 vaccines from different vaccine makers, calling it a “dangerous trend”. As there is little data available about the impact of the vaccine mixture.

“It’s a little bit of a dangerous trend here. We are in a data-free, evidence-free zone as far as to mix and match. It will be a chaotic situation in countries if citizens start deciding when and who will be taking a second, a third dose.” She added

She also clarified her remarks on Twitter, saying that people should follow public health advice and not make their own decisions on vaccine mixing or taking additional doses.

She said that public health agencies could provide advice based on available data. Still, She added that studies on mixing various vaccines are ongoing and that immunogenicity and safety need to be evaluated.

Why wants Thailand to Mix AstraZeneca Shot with Sinovac?

Canada already approved the mixing and matching of the vaccines. Canadian experts have supported the decision of the national agency of considering the vaccine mixture practice as safe. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said that the non-binding recommendations were based on a range of factors from safety concerns to vaccine supply.

“The interchangeability of vaccines means that you can receive one vaccine product for your first dose and then safely receive a different vaccine for your second dose to complete your two-dose vaccine series for optimal protection from COVID-19,” Tam added.

In June, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) said people who received a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine should get an mRNA vaccine Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, for their second dose. The vaccines can be safely mixed and matched in most scenarios, they added.

NACI also authorized the mixture of mRNA vaccines, saying those vaccines can be interchangeable if the same product was not readily available for the second dose.

That strategy was used in late June in Ontario when officials promoted the use of Moderna’s vaccine for second doses due to a shortage of Pfizer-BioNTech in the province. Other provinces also took on the recommendation.

Anirudha Yerunkar
Anirudha Yerunkar
Postgraduate in Multimedia from IIJNM, Bangalore. Covered stories on health, business, migrant workers and the impact of Covid19 on various sections of society. Interested in reading and writing. I like to follow and research politics and current news. Interested to find what will happen with the human race and where will it go after the Pandemic. Keen to learn and understand anthropology. Also, like to listen to all genre of music but especially like classical and folk music. Writing articles and poetry is my passion. Following national and international literature and various scientific groups is my hobby. Travelled across India and ready to explore more.

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