China’s Sinovac Vaccine Efficacy Called Into Question, Thailand Opts for AstraZeneca Booster

By Lisa Bian
Lisa Bian
Lisa Bian
July 16, 2021 Updated: July 17, 2021

Thailand is currently experiencing a spike in COVID-19 infections. On July 11, the number of cases reported reached a record high of 9,418. The death toll on July 10 was 91, also a historic high. Due to the abrupt rise in cases, the Thailand government changed its vaccine policy, and started giving the AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine to boost protection for those who received China’s Sinovac.

On July 11, Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health said 618 of 677,348 medical staff who were fully vaccinated with Sinovac vaccine were infected with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Virus. One nurse died, and one medical staff was in critical condition.

Due to concerns over the efficacy of the Chinese vaccine, the Thailand government announced on July 12 that people who received China’s Sinovac as the first dose of vaccine would receive AstraZeneca as the second dose after a three to four week interval.

Medical workers who were fully vaccinated with Sinovac would receive a third booster shot from a different vaccine manufacturer. The booster shot could be either AstraZeneca or another mRNA vaccine such as Pfizer.

Thailand is currently strengthening its virus control measures, and banning unnecessary travel and gatherings of more than five people. Bangkok and its surrounding areas have imposed curfews.

Dr. Thiravat Hemachudha, the head of the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Diseases Health Science Center, said China’s Sinovac was less effective against the CCP Virus delta variant. And a booster dose of AstraZeneca would increase its efficacy, according to a study he helped conduct.

Thailand primarily relied on the Sinovac vaccine to combat the CCP Virus. It received batches of Sinovac from China and began vaccinating its medical workers in February. The AstraZeneca vaccines arrived later in June.

The 1.5 million doses of Pfizer vaccine donated by the United States are expected to arrive in late July. Thailand has purchased an additional 20 million doses set to arrive after October.

Thailand is the latest country to question the efficacy of Chinese vaccines and to administer other vaccines for the second dose.

The efficacy of Chinese vaccines is being seriously questioned.

Indonesia also heavily relied on China’s Sinovac vaccine; its government said on July 9 that it would provide medical staff with Moderna vaccine as a booster.

Since June, at least 131 Indonesian health care workers have died, many of whom received the Sinovac vaccine.

Lisa Bian
Lisa Bian