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Existing vaccines still effective against UK, South African variants, says Dr Adham

KUALA LUMPUR (April 16): The Covid-19 vaccines currently being used in the country are still effective in protecting the recipients against the UK B.1.1.7 and South African B.1.351 variants, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba (pictured).

However, he said the Ministry of Health (MoH) is still awaiting reports from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) relating to the effects of the vaccines against the two variants.

“We found that the existing vaccines that have been used so far were capable of fighting [the virus] and giving protection to the recipients, but we are also awaiting reports from the WHO and CDC relating to the effects [of the vaccines] and whether the two variants could cause the vaccines to be ineffective.”

The minister said this at a press conference after witnessing the signing ceremony for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Malaysian Red Crescent Society and Pfizer Malaysia here today.

It was reported yesterday that five Covid-19 cases with UK B.1.1.7 variant and 17 cases with the South African B.1.351 variant were detected.

Meanwhile, Dr Adham said the 10-day quarantine made compulsory to travellers arriving in Malaysia could still help detect positive Covid-19 cases involving the two variants.

He said this is because the travellers would be required to take a swab test three days before their departure date and that the result of the test must be verified by the authority.

“So far, it can still help detect positive cases as the symptoms would appear on the 10th day,” he explained.

On the Sarawak government’s request to be supplied with the CanSino single-dose Covid-19 vaccine from China, Dr Adham said the ministry is willing to work with the state government for the purpose.

In fact, the minister said the single-dose vaccine is more feasible for people living in the interiors and having difficulties going to their second vaccination appointment.

Yesterday, Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas was reported as saying that the state government had requested approximately 800,000 doses of the CanSino vaccine to be supplied to the state to facilitate vaccination for the people living in the interiors.

He made the request during a meeting with the Coordinating Minister for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme Khairy Jamaluddin in Kuching.

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