The Chinese-made Sinovac vaccine had one major advantage over other western-made vaccines which led to large bulk purchases by the Thai government, a public health official told Thai Enquirer on Wednesday.
The acquisition of millions of doses of Sinovac vaccine by the Ministry of Public Health has been scrutinized and criticized by opposition parties and the Thai public.
Many have questioned why Thailand sought to acquire a vaccine that was less effective at stopping infections and particularly vulnerable to the Delta Variant of the disease.
But according to one public health official, the purchase of the Sinovac Vaccine was absolutely “vital” in lowering the number of fatalities and a important stepping stone in the country’s road to recovery.
“Sinovac had one major advantage over the other vaccines, it was available in large quantities,” said the official on condition of anonymity.
“You have to remember that other vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna were backlogged for months, our AstraZeneca plants were not yet operational, so Sinovac was literally the only option we had to get in vaccines and fast.”
The official said that while the efficacy of the vaccine may be lower, it still prevented severe illnesses and deaths in the majority of cases – even with the Delta mutation.
“Even now there is a backlog of orders for vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna, so we have to keep bringing in Sinovac because it is available now and allows us to return to normal now.”
The official also defended the MOPH’s controversial Sinovac + Astrazeneca cocktail which has been criticized by the public.
“The science is in, the mixing of the vaccines boost effectiveness. All this criticism is just political and it is costing us lives because people become apprehensive to get jabbed.”