Thailand begins vaccinating children aged 5-11, hospitals offer guide for parents
Thailand kicked off its vaccination programme for children aged 5-11 on Monday.
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul presided over the launch at Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health in Bangkok, where at-risk children with seven underlying diseases were first in the queue for jabs.
Anutin said the youngsters will receive Pfizer vaccine from a batch of 300,000 doses that have already arrived. Another 300,000 doses per week will be sent to fill Thailand’s order of 10 million Pfizer doses within the next three months, he added.
Anutin said the total shipment should arrive one month ahead of schedule.
Children will receive two Pfizer (Comirnaty) jabs three to 12 weeks apart. The favoured gap between injections is 8-12 weeks, which offers higher immunity and fewer side effects.
Meanwhile, Thailand is currently registering Sinovac vaccine for use in younger children aged over three.
Hospitals have offered parents guidance on the effects of Covid-19 in children as well as the side effects of vaccines:
Covid-19 symptoms in children
- Effects range from no or mild symptoms through to severe pneumonia and death.
- 90% of young patients have mild symptoms such as fever, coughing and muscle aches.
- Only 5% suffer severe symptoms such as severe pneumonia, respiratory failure or circulatory collapse.
- 4% are asymptomatic.
- Complications are rare. They are most often found in high-risk patients such as children under the age of one or patients with underlying diseases.
Symptoms after receiving Covid-19 vaccines
- Pain at injection site: 79-86%
- Fatigue: 60-66%
- Headache: 55-66%
- Heart inflammation (myocarditis or pericarditis) found in 56-69 people per 1 million doses
- Heart inflammation found in only 4-5 females per 1 million doses
Symptoms to look out for after vaccination
Like adults, children should sit and monitor their symptoms for 30 minutes after receiving the jab.
- Chest tightness or chest pain
- Gasping or fatigue
- Heart palpitations
- Loss of consciousness, feeling faint or unusually tired
What to do before receiving the jab
- Do not receive another vaccine at the same time as the Covid-19 jab. People should wait at least 14 days before receiving another vaccine, unless in an emergency such as rabies vaccination for an animal bite.
- Children and women who are menstruating, breastfeeding or pregnant are eligible for Covid-19 vaccination.
- Children or teenagers recovering from Covid-19, complications, or Kawasaki disease (MIS-A or MIS-C) should wait for 1-3 months before receiving the vaccine. Children undergoing plasma treatment can receive the vaccine immediately after 90 days.
Sources: Sikarin Hospital, Siriraj Hospital (Mahidol University), King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital, The Thai Red Cross Society