By Linda Khoo Hui Li & Tuwaedaniya Meringing
BANGKOK: Thailand defended its move to mix-and-match COVID-19 vaccines to boost protection against COVID-19 after the World Health Organisation (WHO) top scientist warned that there is uncertainty over the safety and efficacy of using different vaccine combinations.
Senior virologist from Chulalongkorn University Dr Yong Poovorawan said a shot of Chinese’s Sinovac, an inactivated COVID-19 vaccine with a second dose of AstraZeneca, a viral vector vaccine, have been working well in boosting immunity
“It can achieve a booster effect within six weeks instead of 12.
“The use of AstraZeneca as a third shot or booster jab after two dose of Sinovac will achieve higher level of antibodies,” the Head of the Center of Excellence in Clinical Virology at the Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University said at a briefing here today.
Yesterday, Thailand announced it will mix-and-match China’s Sinovac with AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to boost protection against the virus.
However, WHO chief scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan said “it’s a little bit of a dangerous trend here’
“We’re in a data-free, evidence-free zone as far as mix and match,” she said.
Meanwhile, Thailand recorded 8,685 new COVID-19 cases and 56 fatalities over the last 24 hours, bringing the total infections in the kingdom to 353,712 and 2,847 deaths to date.
Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) said the new cases including 8,673 local transmissions of which including 2,501 through active case detection, and 12 imported cases.
It said the new fatalities involved 31 women and 25 men aged between 34 and 96 years old, including 30 in Bangkok.
Meanwhile, seven construction workers in Bangkok suspected to have been infected with two variants – Alpha and Delta.
As of now, they remain fit and have not developed worrisome symptoms, Bangkok Post reported.
Meanwhile, the Office of the Sheikhul Islam of Thailand has announced a ban on congregational Friday prayers in four southern provinces namely Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala and Songkhla amid surge in COVID-19 cases.
In a statement, it said Muslims probibited from performing their Aidiladha prayers at surau and mosques in these provinces.
“The sacrificial rites in conjunction with Aidiladha can be done at set locations and the slaughtering ritual manpower not more than five people,” it said in a statement.