Thailand has stood by its ongoing use of the Chinese Sinovac Biotech Covid vaccine following six recipients reporting stroke-like symptoms, after an inquiry found no connection between the jab and the illnesses.
A government-appointed panel of experts investigated the concerns after six medical personnel who were administered the Chinese-developed vaccine experienced drowsiness and numbness – symptoms like those felt by stroke victims. The individuals were all given treatments for strokes and recovered, with no further medical concerns reported.
Having examined the cases, Thai health authorities ruled that there was no clear link between the vaccine and the side effects, deciding that the country should continue to include Sinovac in its rollout.
“The panel agreed we can continue to use this vaccine batch because the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the temporary effects, which can occur,” Dr Kulkanya Chokephaibulkit, chair of the committee on adverse events after immunization, said on Wednesday.
Thailand is not the first country to have reports of stroke-like symptoms among a small number of recipients of the Sinovac jab.
There were reports in March of two Hong Kong residents who died from a stroke after getting it, although vaccine experts in the area said there was no causal link between the injections and strokes.
A similar incident was reported in the Philippines, with the Department of Health examining the vaccine’s safety after a man who had been administered it later suffered a stroke.
The department ultimately ruled that the timing was purely “coincidental”, and the vaccine was “safe” and “effective” to use.
Sinovac has not publicly addressed the Thai concerns about the possible side effects of the vaccine; however, after the Hong Kong reports, company CEO Yin Weidong told the Global Times the company is “confident in the overall safety” of the vaccine “as it was proven to be safe from observations of mass vaccinations.”
Thailand has received two million doses of Sinovac, with 1.5 million set to be delivered in the near future. So far, 600,000 doses of the Chinese vaccine have been given to residents across the country.