In response to the spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19, the Public Health Ministry plans to decrease the time between the first and second AstraZeneca vaccines for people. The Delta variant is more contagious and spreads more quickly than the original Coronavirus so the decision was made to accelerate the vaccination process to protect against it.
Just a few days ago, plans to stretch the gap between first and second doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to 16 weeks were scrapped. The plan was thought to buy time for the government to give more first doses to push up the number of (partially) vaccinated people in Thailand more quickly. It was called off as no clinical data exists on whether a second vaccine that far after the first would still be effective at all.
After conceding the 16 week plan and dropping the gap to 10 to 12 weeks, they are hastening the process further, to just 8 weeks between vaccines. The longer spacing had been chosen based on British research, but that study did not go up to 16 weeks and was conducted before the onslaught of the Delta variant originally identified in India. The plan, confirmed by the Permanent Secretary for Public Health, is hoped to speed up protection against the Delta variant rapidly spreading through the country.
So far, a total of 8.5 million vaccines have been sent out across the country to be administered. As of June 21, 7.9 million vaccines have been administered, but only 2.3 million people have been fully vaccinated in Thailand. Of those 7.9 million vaccines given, 5.5 million were Sinovac and the remaining 2.4 million were AstraZeneca.
The vaccines are supposed to be given to target groups that are most at risk either because of age, medical condition, or proximity to outbreak clusters. Each provincial Communicable Disease Committee is tasked with continually assessing need and distributing vaccines accordingly.