Thailand is in an uproar after the country's health ministry leaked documents that included a comment that people who have received doses of the Sinovac vaccine would feel like they received an inferior product if given a vaccine from a different brand as a booster.
The document was an internal memo that recorded various opinions from several officials. The local media reported the contents and were quickly shared online by many users on social media platforms. Later on, Thai Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul confirmed the leak was authentic.
The leak included an unnamed official's comment recommending authorities to hold off on giving frontline health workers a booster shot of Pfizer's vaccine. He argued that this process could result in the likeness of "admitting that the Sinovac vaccine is not effective."
The majority of the country's health workers have been given the Sinovac vaccine that held a 95% efficacy rate in reducing mortality and severe symptoms if given two doses. The study also showed that the treatment was 71% to 91% effective in fighting against the Alpha variant of the COVID-19 virus.
Thai health experts were immediately called in by the public to provide health care workers with a shot of the Pfizer vaccine. The document has forced officials, including the country's top medical council official, to address the issue, CNN reported.
Opas Karnkavinpong, director-general of the country's Disease Control Department, said on the same day that Charnvirakul confirmed the authenticity of the document that it was not official and did not represent the opinions given in the meeting.
The official argued that the document was not even in the format of a standard meeting agenda. He argued that the leaked document was taken out of context as the meeting included various opinions and taking out one to support a person's perspective was not right.
However, the public has expressed its demand for more mRNA vaccines in the country after it has experienced several delays in importing vaccines and the government's insistence that residents are the inactivated type. Millions of residents have said they were willing to pay about $50 for each dose of the vaccine, Bangkok Post reported.
Lambda Coronavirus Variant
The incident comes amid the new Lambda variant of the coronavirus consistently spreading across the world. In Peru, the new strain is proving to be somewhat resistant to current vaccines and is slowly becoming the dominant variant among new cases.
Last August, officials first recorded the variant, which is also known as C.37. Peru said that the new strain has now become the primary reason that it has recorded the highest pandemic death rate worldwide.
Since it was first discovered, the Lambda variant has spread to about 30 countries, the majority of which are in Latin America. But it has also extended its reach to the UK which has since recorded at least eight cases of the strain. The Lambda variant has been recorded to be the 81% of new infections tested since April in Peru.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that there is no known case of the Lambda variant in the country as of the moment, the New York Post reported.