The next batch of 3 million doses of Pfizer vaccines will arrive in the kingdom on Jan 26 to inoculate children aged 5-11 years, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said on Thursday.
Mr Anutin said the vaccine is part of a 10-million dose order previously made by the government. When the vaccines arrive, it will take a couple of days for the Department of Medical Sciences to review and test some samples as a safety precaution before jabs begin.
Dr Sophon Iamsirithavorn, deputy director-general of the Department of Disease Control, said the vaccination programme for 5-11-year-olds will get underway at the Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health for children with underlying conditions such as asthma and obesity before moving to other hospitals.
The department will work with the Education Ministry to vaccinate all children with underlying health conditions first, he said.
One vaccine bottle contains 1.3 millilitres.
The vaccine will be mixed with saline of the same quantity to create 10 doses which can be stored at a temperature of 2-8 degrees Celsius for up to 10 weeks, he said.
Department deputy director-general Dr Sarawut Boonsuk said the department has recorded an increasing infection rate among students since the start of January.
Infections are high among youths aged 13-19 and at least one Covid-19 infected student aged under 18 has died since November, he said.
So far, 4.5 million out of five million students aged 12-18 have received first shots and just over 4 million have received second jabs.
Meanwhile, the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration has allowed schools to run on-site classes with strict health conditions, Dr Sarawut said.
If one or two children in a classroom are infected, the classroom must be disinfected and closed for three days.
Students in high-risk groups should still study at home while low-risk groups can resume classes on-site, he said.
No group activities are allowed.