The Ministry of Public Health now expects the COVID-19 pandemic to end within this year as the disease transforms into an endemic, although health officials say the scenario would depend on disease control progress and timing.
Department of Disease Control (DDC) Director-General Opas Karnkawinpong said the COVID-19 pandemic started on March 11, 2020 and has continued ever since. He said large outbreaks are expected to be over this year, and Covid will become an endemic or a so-called general communicable disease.
Dr. Opas said the meeting of the DDC sub-committee on promoting disease immunity on January 28 endorsed a COVID-19 vaccination regimen using an mRNA vaccine as the 1st dose and a viral vector vaccine as the 2nd dose. The doses are to be administered 4 weeks apart, per the suggestion of the World Health Organization. People previously infected with Covid may now be vaccinated under the same timing criterion as the uninfected, meaning they may now get vaccinated as early as one month after infection.
The sub-committee also resolved to provide the option for people who had the AstraZeneca vaccine for their 1st as well as 2nd shots to receive an AstraZeneca shot as the booster dose.
The sub-committee is not yet recommending a booster dose for young people aged 12 to 17 who were fully inoculated with the Pfizer vaccine. However, those who were inoculated with the Sinopharm vaccine may receive a Pfizer shot as a booster dose once 4 weeks have passed since their second shot.