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Influential star Araya “Chompoo” A. Hargate was going viral again Tuesday, this time for sharing her experience of receiving the government-approved Sinovac vaccine.
Prompted by fans, Araya’s review came amid countrywide doubts and conspiracies regarding the vaccine against the Covid-19 virus produced by Beijing-based biopharmaceutical Sinovac, and as the country is facing its third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
Many Thais have sworn off the Sinovac jab and vowed to wait for the arrival of other vaccines, such as Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, or Johnson & Johnson. However, experts, doctors, and health professionals have encouraged citizens to get whatever inoculation is available and confirmed their safety, stressing that getting immunized is the only means for the country to get out of this pandemic.
With one of Thailand’s biggest stars announcing that she has received the Sinovac vaccine, many netizens had a lot to say.
The post has since received almost 10,000 comments within hours, with Araya’s name the top trending hashtag on Twitter on Tuesday.
“Thank you for sharing your experience and giving us more confidence and faith,” one user said in the comment section. “If someone like Chompoo is confident enough to receive the Sinovac shots, then I had better try,” another user wrote.
But with the hashtag #ชมพู่อารยา (Chompoo Araya), which amassed more than 329,000 Tweets by Tuesday afternoon, the Twitterverse had something different to say.
Many netizens expressed doubt and disapproval over Araya’s legitimacy as a public figure in disclosing such “unfounded claims” about the efficacy rate of the Sinovac vaccines.
Some on Twitter speculated that her post was politically motivated and that the star received special treatment.
“You ignore the political turmoil in your country, but you can happily review a vaccine imposed by the government, this is so scripted,” a user on Twitter wrote. “She probably was hired as PR for the government,” another said. “Chompoo Araya, do you even know what the World Health Organization is?” fired another user.
However, Araya had clarified in her review that she was able to receive the vaccine at a field hospital inside a temple near her home, as she lives in a cluster area considered high-risk by the government. She also mentioned that she had initially registered to receive the vaccines in a private hospital, but decided not to wait due to the long queue.
Araya wrote about what led to her decision to receive the vaccine. The star added that she, too, initially considered the Pfizer or the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and even considered travelling abroad for the inoculation.
“The best vaccine is whatever vaccine you were offered,” and any is safer than none, Araya posted.
“With each shot that goes into someone’s arm, we get closer to the end of the pandemic,” the star concluded.
Of the 2,040,363 Covid-19 doses administered as of May 13, 639,687 (29.3 per cent) were given to people living in known clusters, according to the Ministry of Public Health.