Government in race against time after Delta variant shown to be more severe, more transmissible

Thailand’s government is now in a race against time to fully vaccinate its population after the Delta variant of Covid-19 is shown to be more transmissible and more deadly in a new study.

Research out of the United Kingdom on Monday found that the Delta variant, which was first identified in India, doubles the risk of hospitalization and is more transmissible than previous mutations.

The study, which was carried out in Scotland, has been a cause for concern for public officials both in the United Kingdom and the United States due to its high transmission rate and severity.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has delayed a full reopening of the country based on advice from his medical team while public health officials in the United States warn that the Delta variant could jeopardize the country’s hard-earned recovery.

Thailand has seen several dozen cases of the Delta variant, first reporting their existence in construction camps around the capital.

Thailand has banned entry from South Asian countries as a precaution. But as infections by the Delta variant gathers speed around the world, it is only a matter of time before more cases make their way to Thailand.

The Good News

The only solution, according to medical researchers, is to vaccinate the population. The good news is that the report showed that vaccines were still very effective in fighting against the new variant. Even better news, for Thailand, is that the AstraZeneca vaccine is nearly as effective as the sought after Pfizer doses.

As reuters reports:

“[Public Health England] said that the Pfizer/Biontech COVID-19 vaccine was 96% effective against hospitalisation from the Delta variant after two doses, while Oxford/AstraZeneca’s offered 92% protection against hospitalisation by Delta.”

According to Bob Wachter, the Chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California – San Francisco, the Delta variant could wreak havoc on unvaccinated populations – a concern for rural parts of the United States which have so far shunned the vaccine.

Wachter adds that one dose isn’t enough and that it was imperative that local governments administer both doses of the vaccine as soon as possible to those under its care.

The Bad News

Unlike the United States, Thai people have embraced vaccinations wholeheartedly and have been registering throughout the country to get jabbed.

The bad news, as we are by now familiar, is that the government has mismanaged their vaccine program completely. By relying on just two manufacturers, the government is lagging woefully behind in trying to inoculate the population.

The delays in production by Siam Bioscience has meant that the delays have been exacerbated even further.

The government now finds itself racing against time to inoculate as many people as possible before the Delta variant really makes its presence known inside the country. Regardless, of where one stands politically, all Thais must now wish that both SBS and the government succeeds from here on out. The alternative is not an option.


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