Many schools nationwide hit by Covid-19 clusters
New Covid-19 clusters have emerged in a number of schools nationwide after the Education Ministry allowed them to reopen.
“The best way for children to learn is to go to school,” Education Minister Treenuch Thienthong said.
However, the emergence of the highly transmissible Omicron variant has triggered Covid-19 clusters at schools in Nan, Phetchabun, Ratchaburi, Chiang Mai, Lampang, Sukhothai, Si Sa Ket, Roi Et, Phetchaburi, Prachinburi, Sa Kaeo, Samut Prakan, Nong Khai, Yasothon and Loei.
The Nan mayor has already announced a temporary closure of four schools – Samakee Wittayakhan School (Ban Phranet), Jumpi Wanidaporn (Ban Phumin), Darun Wittaya (Ban Suan Tan) and the Suriyapong Camp Children Development Centre between January 21 and 28 as the number of Covid-19 infections is likely to increase.
Meanwhile, Ban Rahul School in Phetchabun has become a field hospital after 36 students and one teacher tested positive for Covid-19. Those who tested negative have been ordered to attend online classes.
Precisely 311 teachers and students at Dhammajarinee Wittaya School, a girl’s school in Ratchaburi, tested positive for Covid-19 after the virus spread in dormitories.
Separately, expert virologist Dr Yong Poovorawan said in a Facebook post on Tuesday that children should receive the Covid-19 vaccine jab, especially those who have other diseases, as they would be at risk of developing severe symptoms.
He said children should receive mRNA (Pfizer) and/or inactivated (Sinovac and Sinopharm) vaccines.
The Thai Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Pfizer for children aged five and above.
“We believe the Thai FDA will also approve inactivated vaccines for children soon as China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia and countries in the Middle East and Latin America have approved these vaccines for children aged three and above,” Yong pointed out.
He said the interval between two doses for children is 3-12 weeks, but this can be adjusted depending on the situation.
Yong added there is a possibility that children would be able to receive a cocktail dose and a booster dose, but further studies are necessary.
“The interval between the second dose and booster dose for children who have received two Pfizer jabs is six months,” he said.
“In future, children who have received two inactivated jabs can receive a mRNA jab one to three months after the second jab, and their immunity against Covid-19 would be high, similar to adults,” he wrote.
Yong added that it is up to parents whether to allow their children to receive the Covid-19 jabs or not.