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Bangkok’s Covid-19 Vaccination Crusade: Dr. Thongchai Keeratihattayakorn Addresses AstraZeneca Concerns

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In the heart of Bangkok, under the vast, bustling roof of the Bang Sue Central Vaccination Centre, health warriors stood at the ready. Their mission: to arm the populace with AstraZeneca’s sharp spear against an unseen enemy, Covid-19, in the sweltering summer of 2022. As captured by the lens of Apichart Jinakul, this was a frontline not of conflict but of defense against a microscopic invader.

In the midst of our global health saga, whispers of rare but concerning foes surfaced: blood clots, shadowy adversaries that lurked in the wake of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccination. Dr. Thongchai Keeratihattayakorn, the esteemed director-general of the Department of Disease Control (DDC), stepped into the limelight to address the murmurs. On a Thursday, with the weight of science in his words, he acknowledged this rare occurrence, steering the ship of public health through choppy waters with grace. The AstraZeneca vaccine, a beacon of hope in a sea of uncertainty, was administered while the world’s eyes were wide, alert to every potential consequence.

Dr. Thongchai painted a picture of a world at a crossroads. With only the Sinovac vaccine as its contemporary, which the West regarded with skepticism, Thailand embraced AstraZeneca’s offering. It was a time before the mRNA vaccines’ arrival, a moment frozen in the annals of our fight against the pandemic.

“Blood clots, these unwelcome guests, made their presence known between five and 42 days after the AstraZeneca herald was summoned,” Dr. Thongchai explained. He reassured the populace that any occurrences beyond this enchanted window were not the doing of AstraZeneca’s potion. The people of Thailand, those 20 million souls who received approximately 48 million doses of hope up until March of the previous year, could rest easy in their beds at night.

The DDC’s ledger recorded 23 individuals whose journeys with AstraZeneca were marred by blood clots, with seven instances confirmed as tales intertwined with the vaccine’s legacy. Amidst these narratives of courage and caution, two souls were lost, leaving a somber note in our collective journey toward immunity.

As the tides of the pandemic recede, revealing sands once submerged under waves of fear and uncertainty, Dr. Thongchai heralded a new chapter. Covid-19, once a beast that commanded our undivided attention, has been relegated to the archives of dangerous communicable diseases. The baton is passed to vaccines born from the crucible of impact studies, with Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine now leading the charge in Thailand, a vanguard against the invisible threat.

Across the oceans, in the land of the free, the tales of mRNA vaccines spun by scribes speak mostly of minor skirmishes, mere ripples in the grander scheme of our battle against dusk. And so, in the streets of Bangkok and beyond, life pulses onward, a testament to human resilience and the relentless pursuit of tomorrow.


  1. HealthAdvocate May 2, 2024

    It’s critical to understand that no vaccine is 100% safe or effective. Dr. Thongchai’s transparency about the AstraZeneca vaccine’s side effects like blood clots, although rare, is commendable. Public trust hinges on this transparency.

    • Skeptic101 May 2, 2024

      Why risk the side effects of a vaccine for a virus with a high survival rate? Seems like the cure could be worse than the disease.

      • ScienceFan May 2, 2024

        The survival rate isn’t the only factor. Long COVID and hospital overload are serious issues. Vaccines reduce both infection rates and severity, far outweighing the minimal risk of side effects.

      • HealthAdvocate May 2, 2024

        Exactly, @ScienceFan. Plus, the cases of severe side effects like blood clots are exceedingly rare, especially compared to the risks associated with the virus itself. Vaccination saves lives.

    • BioEthicsGal May 2, 2024

      We have to balance our approach. While the vaccines are a global good, respecting individual choices and concerns is also paramount. Without public trust, our efforts against the pandemic weaken.

  2. TommyV May 2, 2024

    Is anyone else worried about how quickly these vaccines were developed? Doesn’t that rush compromise safety?

    • PhDInViro May 2, 2024

      The speed of vaccine development is a testament to scientific advancement and international collaboration. No steps in the safety evaluation were skipped; the process was simply expedited due to the urgency.

      • TommyV May 2, 2024

        That’s somewhat reassuring. I guess my concern comes more from wondering about long-term effects we might not see yet.

  3. Dave the Brave May 2, 2024

    After my shot, I felt like a superhero. No side effects, just a sore arm. I think people focus too much on the negative without realizing the benefits.

    • VaccineVictor May 2, 2024

      Felt the same way, Dave! It’s a small price to pay for protection against COVID. The fear of side effects is overblown by misinformation.

  4. JennyM May 2, 2024

    Considering the alternatives, Thailand’s decision to use AstraZeneca was wise. The risks of COVID far outweigh the rare side effects of vaccination.

  5. Mark_the_Doc May 2, 2024

    It’s curious how different countries have responded to the same vaccines. The skepticism towards Sinovac in the West versus the embrace of AstraZeneca and mRNA vaccines is a tale of geopolitics as much as it is about public health.

    • GeoPolGuy May 2, 2024

      Absolutely, Mark. Vaccine diplomacy has played a huge role in how these vaccines are perceived and accepted globally. It’s a fascinating and somewhat troubling aspect of the pandemic response.

      • Realist123 May 2, 2024

        Troubling indeed. It’s sad to see life-saving vaccines become pawns in global politics. The priority should always be public health, not geopolitical advantage.

  6. AnnaBanana May 2, 2024

    I’m just here wondering when we can get back to normal. Vaccines are important, but so is getting our lives back.

    • OptimistOllie May 2, 2024

      Vaccination is the path back to normal, Anna. The more people get vaccinated, the faster we can all safely do the things we love again.

      • CautiousCat May 2, 2024

        But will life ever really go back to ‘normal’? I think the pandemic has changed so many aspects of our world forever.

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