Residents, both Thai and foreign, in 10 Thai provinces, will be offered a fourth Covid-19 vaccine dose ahead of the return of the Test & Go entry scheme. The Public Health Ministry has confirmed that fourth dose is being offered to provinces that are heavily reliant on tourism and/or where the infection rate is high. The Bangkok Post reports that both the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine and AstraZeneca will be offered to people who received their third dose at least 3 months ago.
According to the report, the health ministry initially only planned to offer a fourth dose to healthcare workers and high-risk groups. However, it’s understood officials have now decided to roll out dose number 4 to the general public in 10 provinces. Of the 10, there are 4 provinces considered heavily reliant on tourism – Phuket, Krabi, Surat Thani, and Phang Nga. The other 6 provinces are either also reliant on tourism or experiencing high infection rates. They are Chon Buri, Bangkok, Samut Prakan, Nonthaburi, Kanchanaburi, and Pathum Thani.
Officials have already administered over 800,000 fourth doses, primarily to medical personnel and high-risk individuals. The health ministry has set a target of vaccinating 2.5 million people across the 10 provinces, to include foreign residents. People who received 2 doses of Sinovac followed by an AstraZeneca booster are recommended to get AstraZeneca as their fourth dose, whereas Pfizer is recommended as the fourth dose for those who received 2 doses of AstraZeneca followed by a Pfizer booster.
Not many countries are administering fourth doses at this point – Thailand is one of the few, alongside Chile and Israel. Officials say they’re pressing ahead with dose 4 in order to protect local residents once the Test & Go entry scheme resumes from February 1.
According to the Bangkok Post report, around 17% of the population have now received 3 doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, with 69% having received 2 doses. Yesterday, Thailand reported 7,139 new cases, with numbers falling for the third consecutive day.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post
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