The Department of Disease Control (DDC) has urged the senior citizens to get vaccinated against COVID-19 ahead of the Songkran festival, citing statistics indicating increased fatalities among the elderly.
Health officials expressed concern over an increase in severe cases and fatalities among people in this group as a result of possible infections occurring during home visits by family members in April to celebrate the traditional new year festival.
According to DDC data, only 4.2 million senior citizens had received their booster shots as of Saturday, compared to 10 million who had received their second jab. 2.1 million elderly people have yet to receive any COVID injections whatsoever.
DDC Deputy Director-General Dr Sopon Iamsirithaworn said unvaccinated senior citizens with chronic illnesses are among those at the highest risk of contracting COVID-19.
Dr Sopon explained that people in this group typically contract the virus through family members and are at risk of developing severe symptoms that can lead to death.
He advised those who have not been vaccinated to be extra careful when meeting family members or to get themselves inoculated prior to the Songkran holiday.
According to Government Spokesperson Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha continues to express concern about the overall situation, especially an increase in the number of COVID-19 patients suffering from lung inflammation.
The Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration recently launched a nationwide campaign to provide vaccine boosters to senior citizens and those in high-risk groups, in a bid to prevent more coronavirus infections during and after the holidays.