The internal memo, which included various opinions, was reported by local media and shared widely on social media. It was confirmed by Thai Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul as being authentic.
It included a comment from an unnamed official who recommended authorities do not give a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine to frontline health workers, because such a move would be “admitting that the Sinovac vaccine is not effective.”
Sinovac did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the vaccine’s efficacy.
The comment in the leaked document prompted calls from prominent Thai health experts, including a top medical council official, to give health workers a Pfizer-BioNTech booster shot.
The hashtag “Give Pfizer to medical personnel” trended on Twitter in the country, with more than 624,000 tweets on Monday.
Senior health official Opas Karnkawinpong told reporters the document was not real, however, contradicting health minister Anutin.
Anutin said the comment on the booster shot was “just an opinion” and there was an expert panel to set vaccine policy. He added that two doses of Sinovac’s vaccine were effective and “deliver results beyond the standard.”
Thai experts have urged the government to use various types of coronavirus vaccine to better protect the population.
Thailand has procured 20 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for future delivery and will receive 1.5 million doses donated by the United States later this month.