Australia Thailand to boost Sinovac with AstraZeneca as Delta variant drives worst COVID-19 outbreak
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The survey results come amid warnings from President Joe Biden and the nation's top health experts that the Delta variant is more contagious than other strains of COVID-19 and therefore poses a greater risk to unvaccinated people. U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said Friday that the Delta variant is "doubling nearly every two weeks" and warned that it will likely spread quickly in areas of the country where vaccination rates are low."We have some parts of our country that have 70 percent, 80 percent vaccination rates. We have others that are below 30 percent in parts of their region.
As Thailand faces its worst COVID-19 outbreak, authorities have been forced to change the country's vaccine regime and, in a world first, AstraZeneca will be used to boost immunity among people who have already been given the Sinovac shot.
as infections of the Delta COVID-19 variant rise in the capital of Bangkok and surrounding provinces.
The Health Ministry has announced people who have received one dose of the Sinovac vaccine will now get the AstraZeneca shot as their second dose.
And healthcare workers who have already received two Sinovac doses will get an AstraZeneca or Pfizer shot as a booster.
Sanitary Pass, Vaccination ... The possible measures to come to curb the Variant Delta
© Copyright 2021, the OBS The weeks of accalmia will have been short-lived. For several days, the government has no longer hides its concern about the progression of the Variant Delta. To cope and avoid the arrival of a fourth wave , new sanitary measures could be taken next week. Overview of the possibilities available to the executive. Vaccine Obligation For caregivers Emmanuel Macron will preside over Monday, July 12, an exceptional health defense council.
Thailand is recording nearly 9,000 new cases a day as well as 80 deaths a day — figures that have been steadily increasing for a month.
There have also been breakthrough infections in healthcare workers who have been fully vaccinated with two doses of Sinovac.
Officials in Thailand referenced a local study in their announcement, but experts say there is no peer-reviewed research on the approach.
Infectious disease and vaccine expert Tony Cunningham from the Westmead Institute for Medical Research said Delta had "changed the whole scope of things".
"It's a fairly desperate position for countries that are experiencing Delta surges and you just simply cannot rely on Sinovac alone," Professor Cunningham said.
"But what they're doing is untested and untried."
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World Health Organization (WHO) chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said the body was awaiting "data from mix and match studies of different vaccines" and warned individuals not to make decisions around mixing doses themselves.
and is one of the vaccines distributed under the COVAX facility.
The Chinese-developed vaccine has an efficacy rate of 51 per cent,.
Under WHO guidelines,.
But as epidemiologist Hassan Vally says, variants have reduced the effectiveness of all vaccines.
"You've got a vaccine like Sinovac that's 51 per cent effective in the trials, which were testing against the original strain of SARS CoV-2, and now you've got these variants of concern," he said.
"The immune response elicited by the vaccine is being evaded by these variants, so you're getting reduced effectiveness of these vaccines in the real world, which is why Thailand is seeing what it's seeing and why it's working less effectively against the Delta variant."
Thailand defends Covid vaccine 'mix-and-match' after WHO warning
Thailand on Tuesday defended mixing two different Covid-19 vaccines to battle a surge in infections, after the WHO's top scientist warned it was a "dangerous trend" not backed by evidence. The kingdom is struggling to contain its latest outbreak fuelled by the highly contagious Delta variant, with cases and deaths skyrocketing and the healthcare system stretched thin. Authorities said they will mix a first dose of the Chinese-made Sinovac jab with a second dose of AstraZeneca to try and achieve a "booster" effect in six weeks instead of 12.
Professor Cunningham said the perceived risk of AstraZeneca, and its links to a rare clotting disorder, had been magnified in Australia and many countries would love to have a ready supply of a vaccine that offered its level of protection.
"If [we] we're in Indonesia or Thailand, we'd be itching to get AstraZeneca," he said.
"In India, 91 per cent of people now want to get immunised. That's what proximity to this disease does to you."
The bet COVAX made on supply from India
, particularly the AstraZeneca formulation.
The country has administered about 12.57 million vaccine doses, with just over 13 per cent of the population receiving at least one dose.
Thailand does produce the AstraZeneca vaccine locally, but with a population of nearly 70 million, domestic supply is not enough to meet demand.
, but the government there put a stop to vaccine exports when a second wave of COVID-19 hit the country earlier this year.
At the time,.
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Doses that had been earmarked for export across Asia and Africa, including orders promised under the COVAX facility, were diverted to the domestic population and exporting has not yet resumed.
"To have them knocked out, or only focusing only on India, is potentially disastrous," Professor Cunningham said.
India's second wave meant many countries did not receive their expected doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. For those that used the Sinovac shot as a replacement, they are fighting the spread of variants with reduced protection.
"We had to focus all the firepower and the vaccines on the Indian population because that was where it was needed the most," Serum Institute chief executive Adar Poonwalla told the India Global Forum earlier this month.
"India will go back to supporting COVAX in a few months and start re-exporting vaccines so there is equitable distribution, which was the original objective of COVAX."
On Monday,to provide up to 550 million vaccines to the program.
Dr Vally said it was important to remember any protection was better than none.
"If you have a choice between no vaccine and using Sinovac, well it's a reasonable vaccine given we are in a worldwide pandemic and any immunity is better than no immunity," he said.
Will we all need COVID vaccine booster shots?
How do boosters work and how can we celebrate Eid safely this year?A booster vaccine is designed to strengthen our body’s immune response to an antigen or “foreign invader” that it has been primed to respond to by a previous vaccine. These are commonly used to protect against diseases such as tetanus and polio, where, after time, our immunity against the antigen wanes. Boosters are usually a shot of the same vaccine again, just given at a later date.
He said, if the evidence supported it, the Thailand strategy could be very useful.
"If you have Sinovac, it's not the end of the story. There's then an opportunity to boost people's immunity," Dr Vally said.
"All of us are probably going to be getting boosters of vaccines, whether you're in low-income or rich countries, for the next six years or longer because immunity is going to wane."
Australia exporting AstraZeneca
An initial delivery of, with the federal government flagging a total of 15 million doses will be supplied to Pacific neighbours by the middle of next year.
But on current estimates, Australia could have tens of millions of excess doses of the locally made AstraZeneca vaccine.
"We are going to be exporting our excess AstraZeneca … when Pfizer and Moderna come bursting in at the end of the year — that's my suspicion," Professor Cunningham said.
"The only problem is, you don't want that to be too late when you've got a lot of Delta circulating now."
Professor Cunningham added sharing AstraZeneca doses made in Australia with Asia Pacific neighbours was not just about being charitable: "It's going to stop new strains being generated in our vicinity."
Professor Cunningham said with new variants, came new vaccine supply challenges.
"The most people we've ever immunised in the world is 90 million in 2009. We're now trying to immunise 6 billion. We've never done anything like that," he said.
"It's a huge worry and Delta has made it worse for the whole world."
All adults in Sydney recommended to get the AstraZeneca vaccine .
Sydneysiders over the age of 18 have been told to 'strongly consider' getting the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine by Australia's top immunisation advisory body. The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) on Saturday night said it was changing its advice in response to Sydney's surging cluster of coronavirus cases - which grew by another 163 infections overnight. ATAGI said it was also advising Australians living in areas with coronavirus outbreaks to shorten the time between their first and second doses to four to eight weeks instead of the usual 12.