A leaked document that revealed that government officials and academics wanted to downplay the ineffectiveness of the Sinovac vaccine is real, the public health minister told reporters on Monday.
The document, which shows some of the minutes of a June 30 meeting at the public health ministry, reveals a debate between public health officials and academics whether or not to give Pfizer vaccines to medical workers who have already been vaccinated with Sinovac.
According to the document, a suggestion was made that making that decision would be admitting Sinovac was not effective.
“If we [take this decision], it would be like admitting that Sinovac doesn’t offer any protection and it would make it difficult for us to come up with excuses,” the document reads.
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul told reporters on Monday that the leaked document was real but sought to downplay its importance.
“It is only an opinion,” said “This is why there is a committee and why one person is not deciding everything.”
The US is donating 1.5 million doses of Pfizer vaccines which expected to arrive before the 20 million doses that the government ordered that are due in Thailand by the end of the year.
The government has been criticized by the public for not seeking mRNA vaccines sooner and relying on the Sinovac vaccine which has proven ineffective in stopping the spread of the Delta variant.
679,276 medical workers, around 95 per cent of the country’s medical workers, have received both shots of mostly Sinovac vaccine.
Despite its ineffectiveness, the government still insists on ordering more Sinovac doses, with millions on order for 2022. The government said those orders were placed in November last year and it cannot break the contract.
The government plans on reopening the country by mid-October of this year, a target many see as fleeting given the ineffectiveness of a vaccine program in which Sinovac is a key part.