Thais increasingly wary of Covid vaccines, study finds

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The willingness of Thai citizens to be inoculated against Covid-19 has dropped in 2021 despite data showing that the risks are small, and outweighed by the benefits of protection against the potentially fatal virus.

The opposition blamed the lack of public trust on the government’s miscommunication.

According to YouGov, an international research data and analytics group, the percentage of Thai people willing to take the vaccine dropped from 83 per cent in January to 63 per cent in May.

Ketpreeya Kaewsanmuang, Puea Chat Party’s spokeswoman, said on Tuesday that the risk of side effects from a Covid-19 vaccine is less than the risk of side effect from a rabies vaccine because the latter use an active virus to produce it in oppose the inactive one that Covid-19 vaccines are using.  

However, the government has failed to provide the public with confidence in the vaccines that are available in Thailand.

“Even Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-ocha has refused to be vaccinated twice,” she said. “His hesitation has led to the public’s lack of confidence in the vaccines,” she added.

She also said the government’s miscommunication and confusing announcements have also led to doubt over the information that they are giving to the public.

The Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation said last week that after 2,040,363 doses of mostly Sinovac vaccines have been administered in Thailand as of May 13, minor side effects have been shown by 10.8 per cent of people.

For every one million doses, there were 6.5 cases of severe side effects, including 0.5 cases of polyneuropathy numbness, or stroke-like symptoms.

In India, the health ministry said on Monday that the country found 26 suspected cases of bleeding and clotting from people who have been injected with AstraZeneca’s vaccine after 164 million doses have been administered, or 0.6 cases per million doses.

The rolling out of the locally produced AstraZeneca’s vaccine is expected for June and it will be the principle vaccine for the country.

Out of the 2,040,363 million doses administered (1,934,931 doses of Sinovac and 105,432 of AstraZeneca), the most common symptoms found in Thailand so far are:

  • Muscle pain (6.65 per cent of the total)
  • Headache (4.37 per cent)
  • Fatigue (3.23 per cent)
  • Pain and swollen at the point of injection (3.18 per cent)
  • Fever (2.08 per cent)
  • Nauseated (1.56 per cent)
  • Diarrhea (1.23 per cent)
  • Muscle weakness (0.91 per cent)
  • Rash (0.7 per cent)
  • Vomit (0.4 per cent)
  • Other symptoms (1.34 per cent)

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