Public Health Ministry moves to assure the public on outlying cases as vaccination drive cranks up

A 29-year-old market seller who works in Bangkok but lives in Ratchaburi becomes the first confirmed case of a vaccinated person to test positive for Covid-19 as officials begin giving full briefings to the public to show the confidence that authorities have in the campaign now underway to vaccinate the Thai population and restore the country to normality.

Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health has been briefing the public on cases linked with the country’s vaccination campaign which received a boost this week when the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was approved for use in the kingdom. The first was the case of a 60-year-old man who died on March 13th after receiving the vaccine just two weeks previously. Doctors have concluded following a full investigation into the death, that the man died as a result of a chronic illness, an aortic aneurysm which he had suffered from since birth. Also in Ratchaburi, a 29-year-old woman was confirmed to be infected with the disease after being inoculated on March 18th last.

Details concerning the tragic death on March 13th of a 60-year-old man with an aortic aneurysm since birth was given at a press conference at the Ministry of Public Health in Nonthaburi on Friday by the Deputy Director-general of the Department of Disease Control, Dr Sophon Iamsirithaworn. It comes as on Thursday, the Thai Food and Drug Administration approved the Johnson & Johnson jab for use in the kingdom with up to 100,000 people already having received a first dose and 7,000 fully vaccinated.

On Friday, Thai medical experts with the Department of Disease Control at the Ministry of Public Health in Nonthaburi gave a press conference to give details of a 60 year old Thai national who died on March 13th last and who had earlier received a Covid-19 vaccine.

The press conference heard Dr Sophon Iamsirithaworn, the Deputy Director-general of the Department of Disease Control at the ministry who works on a key committee dealing with the country’s vaccine rollout, explain to the media that the death of the man was unrelated to the vaccine.

Dr Tawee Chotpitayasunondh of the National Communicable Diseases Committee gave some background to the man’s clinical history.

Deceased man suffered from an aortic aneurysm

It appears that he had suffered from a chronic condition since birth referred to as an aortic aneurysm. This is a distension of the aorta caused by a weakness in the blood circulation system.

Dr Tawee described the condition as a ‘ticking time bomb’ for any person who suffers from it, meaning that the blood system can rupture without warning leading to internal bleeding and inevitably to death.

‘Doctors concluded that his death resulted from a ruptured abdominal aneurysm, which was his chronic illness,’ the medical expert told the press. ‘It was like a time bomb buried in the body. This should not have anything to do with the inoculation, which only coincidently happened about 10 days previously.’

60-year old received surgery in late January and was vaccinated in March after a physical examination

He gave the press a full timeline of the man’s medical history. It appears that the 60-year-old who had been the subject of surgery in late January was hospitalised for 40 days.

As a high-risk patient, he was scheduled for a physical examination at the end of February and was given a vaccine dose after being deemed fit.

Medical support staff reported that when reviewed on March 1st and March 3rd, the man appeared to be in good physical condition.

Reported in good health in early March but developed problems on March 8th and died on March 13th

They were unable to locate him on March 7th but it appears that on March 8th and March 9th he developed weakness, dizziness and began to faint. He suffered from congestion.

He was admitted to hospital where he died on March 13th.

Dr Tawee explained that medical officials are fully satisfied that the deterioration of the man’s condition was entirely linked with his aortic aneurysm and was not caused by taking the vaccine.

Potentially fatal condition that should not be aggravated by high blood pressure says top doctor

He emphasised that the condition can turn fatal for anyone who suffers from it, at any time. He stressed that those inflicted should avoid circumstances or behaviour which can cause high blood pressure.

This could include sports activity or the wrong foods as well as smoking.

29-year-old market seller from Ratchaburi, the first person to test positive after being vaccinated here

On Saturday, doctors revealed that a 29-year-old market seller at the Kitti Market in the Bang Khae area of Bangkok may have become Thailand’s first person to be confirmed as infected from the Covid-19 virus after being vaccinated.

This is to be expected as the vaccines are not 100% effective but doctors and medical experts underline that the chances of developing a severe infection after being vaccinated are extremely low. There is also strong evidence from western countries and the United States that such people are likely to be significantly less infectious.

The 29-year-old is from the Mueang district of Ratchaburi province to the west of Bangkok and near Samut Sakhon.

Inoculated on March 18th but taken into quarantine on March 21st after testing positive prior to this

She went to the Kitti Market in the Bang Khae area of Bangkok on March 13th last to be tested and returned home from March 14th to 17th where she learned from social media that her friends had all been cleared.

On March 18th, she was at the market again and received her first inoculation.

It was only two days later, on March 20th, that she was informed that her initial test was positive and that she was to be held in a state quarantine facility.

She was moved there on March 21st. A test on Friday showed she was positive for the disease and was admitted to Ratchaburi Hospital.

Only 100,000 people so far have received doses with 7,000 vaccinated as the government is urged to vaccinate all adults by its medical experts

Thailand plans to vaccinate at least 50% of the adult population before the end of December 2021 with 63 million AstraZeneca and Sinovac vaccines already contracted to be provided during that time.

The Ministry of Public Health is currently pursuing a further 5 million Sinovac doses as top medical experts such as virologist, Dr Yong Poovorawan, have urged officials to secure 100 million doses to vaccinate nearly all the adult population from the disease.

On Thursday last, the Thai Food and Drug Administration approved the Johnson & Johnson one dose vaccine for use in Thailand.

There are reported to be up to 100,000 people in the kingdom who have already received the first dose of a vaccine with approximately 7,000 fully vaccinated at this point.

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Further reading:

PM leads the way as Thailand aims to return to normal by pushing forward its vaccine drive using AstraZeneca

Top docs say vaccine jabs are safe after Thai PM’s jab is cancelled for the second time in two weeks

Vaccination campaign begins in early morning jab event but hopes for more foreign tourists set back

Economy to rebound as the year progresses driven by exports and a return of mass foreign tourism

Door closing on quick foreign tourism return as economic recovery is delayed to the end of 2022

Phuket’s plan to self vaccinate on hold as Interior Ministry orders private sector out of vaccine deals

Top Thai official says vaccine passports are legally a matter for the WHO under international law

Top virologist Dr Yong defends the use of the Sinovac vaccine to protect frontline medical staff at high risk

Refloat of foreign tourism in the 2nd half of 2021 with vaccines pushed by minister and industry for the sector

Fact – only 6,556 visitors arrived in Thailand last month compared to 3.95 million in December 2019

Desperate foreign tourism business concerns are clinging to straws as they try to survive the crisis

Strict entry criteria to remain as officials await clarity on the medical status of vaccinated people

About the Author

Carla Boonkong is a magazine writer who writes extensively about woman’s issues in Thailand. One of her key subjects is the story of Thailand’s growing influence in the world and the role played by Thai women in the process. She is now a staff writer with Thai Examiner.com in Bangkok. Son Nguyen is an international writer and news commentator specialising in Thai news and current affairs. He commenced working with the Thai Examiner News Desk in May 2018.


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