Alternative vaccines to be offered to students

Alternative vaccines to be offered to students

Sophon: Touting inactivated jabs

Inactivated vaccines will be offered as an alternative for students aged 12-17 whose parents are concerned about side effects of Pfizer, according to the Department of Disease Control (DDC).

DDC deputy director-general Dr Sophon Iamsirithavorn said parents who have concerns about heart inflammation, listed as a rare side-effect of mRNA vaccines, can wait for inactivated types such as Sinovac or Sinopharm to be approved for use on children by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The alternative was announced ahead of the mass vaccination of students aged 12-17 before schools open again in November.

The government plans to give the Pfizer vaccine to students which Dr Sophon said may, in exceptional circumstances, cause the heart ailments myocarditis and pericarditis, symptoms of which include shortness of breath and chest pain. However, he said these conditions can be treated.

Citing global statistics, the doctor said 16 cases of heart inflammation have been found per 1 million doses administered to children.

In Thailand where Pfizer is being offered to children with chronic diseases, there has been one case associated with myocarditis and the patient made a full recovery, he said, adding all young recipients of Pfizer vaccine will be monitored by the department.

The department plans to roll out vaccinations to 4.5 million students starting on Oct 4, but reiterated that it is not compulsory and the parents will be asked for consent and informed of both the benefits and risks.

The department will monitor the students for at least 30 days after their jabs.

Dr Sophon also stressed that the vaccination of students is not a prerequisite for schools reopening, and those with less than 12 students can reopen if allowed by authorities.

The Pfizer jabs will first be launched in 29 provinces in the dark-red zones, which have been hardest-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. Those students who receive their first jab during in the first week of October will get their second towards the end of the month.

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