The Payap Lifelong Learning Programme is a nonprofit organisation committed to high-quality non-formal education in English. On Wednesday, June 2nd, The Payap Lifelong Learning Programme hosted a Zoom presentation on Covid Cases and Prevention in Chiang Mai with Dr. Suwat Cheriyalertsak as the speaker. Dr. Suwat is well-qualified as he holds an MD from Mahidol University Siriraj Hospital, MS in Clinical Tropical Medicine from Mahidol University, Masters of Public Health in Health System Management from Tulane University and a Doctorate of Public Health from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Among many notable positions, he is a Professor Emeritus at Chiang Mai University and the Dean of Faculty of Public Health.
With the rapid-fire onslaught of news and notices involving COVID-19, misinformation and confusion are rife. “Because of the urgent need for factual information on this topic, Life Long Learning Payap is offering this presentation for free as a service to the community” explains Ajarn Martha Butt, a committee member who gave the introduction of the Zoom session. This presentation aims to inform and explain to Chiang Mai residents the current updates on the third COVID-19 wave and other questions surrounding the topic. With over 150 participants, this is the biggest turnout for any of the Payap Lifelong Learning Programme’s events to date.
Since many may not be able to attend or know about this event in time, here are some takeaways about the vaccine.
What are the vaccines that the Thai FDA approves?
Thai FDA now approves AstraZeneca, Sinovac, and Johnson and Johnson. Sinopharm has recently been approved. Moderna is also under the registration process to be used in Thailand.
Should I get the vaccine and why?
Simply, yes. However, Dr. Suwat advises people to ask themselves: What are the risks am I willing to take? When getting the vaccine, there are risks that you might face, but also risks that you may avoid. All vaccines mentioned are proven to have high prevention of death, hospitalisation, and infection. What is important is that there needs to be about 70-90% of the population that is vaccinated. If there are enough people to be vaccinated, herd immunity will be established. This means that if enough people are immunised, the virus cannot spread to those that aren’t immunised such as babies or immuneuncompromised people because they will be protected by the vaccinated people around them. If you want to avoid the risk of COVID-19 in yourself and others then you should get the vaccine.
What are some side effects of the vaccine and what we need to know about them?
It must be noted that different people and bodies react differently to the vaccine. As of 27th April, 2021, according to Bangkok hospital, there have been reports of some] mild side effects of the vaccines such as pain, redness, swelling at the injection site, or low-grade fever. These mild or moderate symptoms are not uncommon and they are recoverable in about a week. Only a few vaccinated people experience severe side effects such as high-grade fever/ chills, heart palpitation, difficulty breathing or chest discomfort. If anyone experiences any severe side effects, the doctor recommends seeking medical attention immediately. More information on side effects can be found on the Bangkok Hospital webpage. Again, mild to moderate side effects should be expected to occur and full recovery is the most likely outcome. Dr. Suwat adds that if you are afraid of taking the vaccine, you’ll probably experience more side effects – when taking the vaccine, we must be relaxed for the best result, he said.
Can foreign residents in Thailand get the vaccine and how?
Absolutely. By 7th June, 2021, the Thai government will issue a nationwide vaccination plan that will include non-Thai citizens as well. Foreigners will be able to register on-site at vaccination centres by using their passport number at the hospital which has their health record or designated hospitals determined by the Thai Ministry of Public Health.
How do I register?
For non-Thai citizens in Chiang Mai, registration is already available. There are two ways to register which is through a hospital or using the CM COVID-19 Vaccine registration link: https://www.cm-healthcare.net/CMCVR.
For more information contact through: website https://www.chiangmaihealth.go.th/
LINE ID: 0960138522
Telephone: 05321104850 or 0960138522
Visit: The Chiang Mai COVID-19 Vaccine Centre at the Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office
Where can I get vaccinated in Chiang Mai?
There are many places for you to be able to get your vaccines. Registered hospitals, shopping malls, the convention centre, or places like the Royal Flora Project will be opened as vaccination sites. The meeting hall in Chiang Mai University will be available for those living downtown. Before getting a vaccine in any of these places, you must register first and your specific vaccination site will be determined.
If I am vaccinated, do I still need to wear a mask?
Yes, for now. It is still advised to wear a mask because the proportion of people who are vaccinated are still relatively low. Mask wearing, social distancing, and other public health measures continue to be important while the vaccine becomes effective in the community. As stated before, there needs to be about 70-90% of the population fully vaccinated so herd immunity can be established.
The confusion of information through fake news or unupdated news among the community is a prevalent issue that many people are facing. What we know today may be true, but information is always susceptible to change. Therefore, the source that you get your information from is important. Make sure it is credible because it is more important than ever while discussing or acting upon this life or death situation like COVID-19. This is acknowledged in The Payap Lifelong Learning Programme and the Zoom session offers extremely useful information about current updates given by Dr. Suwat. As we go through this journey together, stay safe, informed, and If you have any more concerns, please consult a doctor.
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*statistics and information are credited to Dr. Suwat’s presentation during the Payap Life Long Learning Programme Zoom. The Facebook page Covid International Community Support Group is an excellent resource.