Johnson & Johnson vaccine gains Thai approval, as inoculation nears 100k

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The government on Thursday approved the vaccine against Covid-19 manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, the third to gain authorization for use in the kingdom, as the number of Thais vaccinated surpassed 96,000.

“There is no such thing as the best vaccine in the world, there are only suitable ones that came at the right time and in the safety level that we can accept,” said Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, announcing the decision late Thursday. 

Of those vaccinated with the AstraZeneca and Sinovacs jabs so far, 44,034 are living in Bangkok, where there are three ongoing clusters in Bang Khae, Rama 2 and Samut Prakan.

There is also an outbreak within the Immigration Detention Center (IDC), which has led to 393 confirmed cases so far.

The 96,188 people vaccinated as of March 24 account for 0.1 per cent of the population, the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) said.

This number is behind regional peers such as Myanmar (105,285 people, accounting for 0.1 per cent of the population), Cambodia (241,593 / 0.7 per cent), the Philippines (408,995 / 0.2 per cent), Malaysia (452,919 / 0.7 per cent), Singapore (1.07 million / 9.4 per cent) and Indonesia (8.68 million / 1.6 per cent).

There are now 1.17 million jabs of Sinovac’s (1 million) and AstraZeneca’s (117,000) vaccines in Thailand.

Daily numbers

Country-wide, the CCSA reported 97 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours on Thursday.

Of those, 92 were local infections and five were found in quarantine facilities.

Of the 92 local infections, 43 were found via tests at medical facilities and 49 via proactive tests at high-risk communities.

This brings the total number of infections since the pandemic began last year to 28,443 cases. While 26,946 people have recovered from the disease, 1,405 patients are still being treated.

There was no new fatality, leaving the death toll up to 92 people.

Clusters and provinces

The second wave of the outbreak has reached 66 out of the 77 provinces in Thailand so far. Of the 66 provinces, 38 have not reported any case in the past 28 days.

The hardest-hit province continues to be Samut Sakhon, which reported 17,035 confirmed cases since December 15.

This was followed by Bangkok (1,957), Pathumthani (759), Chonburi (658), Rayong (584), Samut Prakan (399), Chanthaburi (221), Tak (208), Nonthaburi (194), Nakhon Pathom (170) and Ang Thong (125), respectively.

Of the 92 local infections reported on Thursday, 65 were found in Bangkok, followed by 15 in Samut Sakhon, five in Samut Prakan, three in Nakhon Prathom and one each in Chachoengsao, Pathumthani, Ratchaburi and Suphanburi.

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