No deaths linked to vaccination so far, says Khairy

KUALA LUMPUR (July 1): Newly-appointed Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin told the media that there are no deaths linked to vaccination so far in Malaysia.

He said the ministry will release data on adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) by next week.

AEFI is any untoward medical occurrence which follows immunization and which does not necessarily have a causal relationship with the usage of the vaccine, according to the World Health Organization. If not rapidly and effectively dealt with, it can undermine confidence in a vaccine and ultimately have dramatic consequences for immunization coverage and disease incidence.

“We have done an observation towards AEFI cases, to make sure the vaccine that we give [to the public] is safe and has no serious side effects.

“As of today, I would like to emphasize that there are no deaths that have shown a causal link with the vaccination. As discussed with the Health DG (director-general), we will release a huge amount of data on AEFI by next week, so that we can see what kind of AEFI cases such as fever, headache and et cetera,” said Khairy.

Khairy stressed that the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) is committed to ensuring the safety of Covid-19 vaccines through the monitoring of AEFI cases.

“From the start of vaccine rollout (Feb 24) until Aug 30, 2021, a total of 34.45 million vaccine doses have been administered with 20.7 responses for every 1,000 doses received via the MySejahtera application for documented minor reactions. Injection site pain, headache and lethargy are the majority of events experienced among the vaccine recipients,” said Khairy.

“Through the NPRA AEFI reporting system, the rate of overall reporting received is 0.53 per 1,000 doses. Out of this, 0.04 per 1,000 doses reports were categorised as serious AEFI.

“Majority of serious cases only require a short period of hospitalisation for observation and treatment,” he added.

The minister is seeking recommendation from an expert regarding vaccine booster shots by the end of this month.

“For now, we are quite satisfied that we just proceed with the existing PICK [National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme]. The priority is to provide vaccination for those who have not been vaccinated yet and then we will talk about the booster shots once we get the recommendation at the end of this month,” he explained.

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