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First Sinovac, Now Sinopharm: Thailand Turns to Boosters for Chinese-Made Covid-19 Vaccines

Sinopharm Covid-19 Vaccine

Although previously described as being more effective than the coronavirus vaccine from Sinovac Biotech, the Covid-19 drug from state-run China National Pharmaceutical Group known as Sinopharm now also is considered lacking by Thailand’s Public Health Ministry.

Dr. Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of the Department of Disease Control, said booster shots for those who received two doses of BBIBP-CorV will begin as soon as late November. BBIBP-CorV and The manufacturer are both referred to as Sinopharm.

According to the director-general, Chulabhorn Hospital needs to provide evidence to prove that a booster dose is vital to stronger immunity against the Covid-19 virus and that the exact dates each individual can get the booster shots will be revealed later.

The coronavirus situation is showing signs of improvement, especially in Bangkok and surrounding provinces. However, health officials are keeping an eye on the situation in four southern provinces where infections continue to rise.

The World Health Organizaton said in September that a large multi-country Phase 3 trial showed that two doses of Sinopharm, administered at an interval of 21 days, had an efficacy of 79 percent against symptomatic Covid-29 infection and hospitalization.

Frustrated by the elected government’s failure to procure ample supplies of effective coronavirus vaccines, the Chulabhorn Royal Academy, backed by HRH Princess Chulabhorn, began importing and selling Sinopharm as an alternative this summer.

Cities such as Pattaya and provinces including Chonburi purchased hundreds of thousands of Sinopharm doses as they were denied large enough allocations of other vaccines by the government.

Pattaya, which now claims to have vaccinated 80 percent of it population, inoculated more than 30,000 people with Sinopharm. All will now need boosters this winter.