Vaccines Seen Boosting Medical Tourism

Researchers worldwide are working hard around the clock to develop a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for causing the COVID 19 pandemic. Experts say that if the process runs smoothly from the conception of the vaccine to the market availability – it could speed a successful candidate to the market in approximately 12-18 months. 

To date, just one coronavirus vaccine has had approval. Sputnik V – formerly known as Gam-COVID-Vac and developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute in Moscow – was approved by the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation on August 11. Experts have raised considerable concern about the vaccine's safety and efficacy is given it has not yet entered Phase 3 clinical trials.

Thailand is now trying to create its coronavirus vaccine, with comparatively more workforce and resources dedicated to the effort amid hopes that it could boost medical tourism. Trials of an experimental vaccine have started in Thailand on monkeys from the last month; it is one of the 100 potential vaccines that is being developed globally. The government is hopeful that the Thai vaccine will be cost-effective and will be ready by next year; well, that's positive news.

A local firm, Bionet-Asia, working with the government and a top Bangkok university, has put together all other activities on hold and is working on the development of the vaccine with 250 personnel and all of the labs, technology, and production facilities.

Thailand's de facto strategy is handling and minimizing local infections until a more active, safe, and effective vaccine is released globally. The recent discovery of a single case in Bangkok had sent the entire nation to a panic mode after 100 days of zero local transmission, which was similar to the point of an Egyptian military official who visited Rayong province in July and tested positive after that.

Pham Hong Thai said tests on animals had so far shown encouraging results, and the next step would be clinical trials involving humans only after the government's approval. With just over 3,082 cases and 57 deaths, Thailand has had some success in containing the coronavirus to themselves and eased many of its restrictions in response to low infection numbers.

It has been several days without any reported case of local transmission, with all infections this past few days found among quarantined nationals are returning from overseas. Public health minister anutin charnvirakul said that it was important for all channels to put efforts on the clinical development of a vaccine soon and also instructed to include Thailand on the medical map because he believes that Thais have a great medical system and also good health care practices which can garner a lot of interest from the tourists and investors and boost the nation as a medical hub.

Researchers said that the trust of the public in vaccine safety is slowly growing in Europe as well as dipping certain parts in Asia and Africa, leading to increased investment in campaigns regarding health information for the forthcoming COVID 19 vaccine.

There is undoubtedly a political instability and misinformation and that the levels of trust in the safety of medicines by visible links from the largest ever global survey of vaccine confidence, published in the Lancet medical journal.

Foreign patients who have tested negative for COVID 19 will only be allowed to enter Thailand as issued by the government, the public health ministry said on Sunday, moving to allay public concerns over the matter.the ministry said All foreigners arriving recently for medical check-ups visits are required to take 3 Covid-19 tests and enter a  mandatory 14-day quarantine at any medical institution.

Tares Krassanairawiwong said foreign patients could enter the country since the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration has allowed medical tourism to resume on 30 June.

Patients can travel to Thailand by air and can be accompanied by a maximum of three people, said Dr. Tares, adding that both patients and carers must show that they have tested negative for Covid-19 with an RT-PCR test. The COVID test must be taken within 72 hours before traveling, adding patients will be screened for the novel virus before receiving any treatment.

After treatment, patients will be required to stay at the hospital for an additional 14 days and tested for Covid-19 after quarantine is over. The foreign patients and carers will be required to download and use the government's virus effect tracking application throughout their stay so that the authorities can keep an eye on them.

Patients and carers must present all required documents to be allowed anywhere, which include health insurance proof, which also covers all Covid-19 treatment expenses, financial statements to guarantee their ability to pay off all their medical costs, and a certificate or appointment letter from a hospital in Thailand.

National police spokesman reminded travelers traveling to Thailand must check  if they are among the 11 categories of travelers the government body has allowed to enter before they buy flight tickets and prepare the documents required Thailand's medical hub.

The first meeting - the medical hub committee attended by members of the public related government ministries and the private sector, resulted in three decisions, as said by  Tares Krassanairawiwong. The first decision was a policy per Thailand's medical hub committee unveiled a set of guidelines for medical tours as the country gears up to open its borders to international visitors. The first decision was a policy about containing to these visitors will be asked to show a proof that they have been tested negative for Covid-19 at least 72 hours before arriving in the country and are required to complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine period. Dr. Tares added that people who intend to travel to Thailand for any medical procedures would be required to undergo compulsory 3 Covid-19 screenings while here before, during, and after the course of the medical treatment.

Patients arriving from abroad will have an option of quarantining at any state hospital where their state health insurance will partially cover the cost of their stay quarantined or at any alternative hospital, which has to be booked  and paid by the patients themselves, said Dr. Tares. The third outcome is the decision to promote the production of locally-made medical equipment widely, including Covid-19 test kits, personal protection equipment (PPE), masks, disinfectants, and treatment equipment.