Many Malaysians have voiced their concerns over the usage of the the controversial AstraZeneca vaccine in the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme (NIP), as there were reports of blood clots forming
after taking the vaccination.
The government has now decided that the vaccine will not be included in the NIP, Malay Mail
Stem from public fear
This was announced by NIP coordinating minister Khairy Jamaluddin and Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba in a joint press conference held on Wednesday (28 April).
Khairy said the vaccine will now be given to only those who want to take it voluntarily on a first-come-first-served basis through dedicated vaccination centres (PPV).
According to Khairy, the decision was made after the government considered some quarters' worries on the vaccine and to avoid disrupting the ongoing immunisation programme.
“Though the Ministry of Health and CITF held the same opinion as the group of experts, that this AstraZeneca vaccine is a safe vaccine and also effective, at the same time, we do not want to disrupt the ongoing NIP and in this matter I, and Datuk Seri Dr Adham discussed in details about the use of AstraZeneca.
“We do not want to waste this vaccine that is effective, that is safe. However, at the same time, we understand that in the situation today, perhaps science and facts are not able to address the worries of the public, as well as fake news which are spread.
"So after we discussed, we agreed on one proactive step, which I feel will enable us to continue using the AstraZeneca vaccine, but at the same time, we can address the fear and worries of the people towards this AstraZeneca vaccine, which is actually not based on science but we take note that this what the public feels,” he was quoted as saying.
Booking system to open soon
For those who are interested in taking the AstraZeneca jab, Khairy said a booking system will be opened for the public to book their appointments soon.
The vaccination will be based on a first-come-first-serve basis for all, not just those who are scheduled to be innoculated under phase two of the NIP.
He added that Selangor and Kuala Lumpur would be the first two states to be given 268,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to those who are keen, as COVID-19 cases have been climbing in the states.
He added that an interval period of 12 weeks has been agreed upon for the AstraZeneca vaccine following the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendation and after discussion with Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
He said those who take the vaccine would also be given clinical guidelines to monitor possible side effects.
“We have obviously now, new clinical guidelines which have been updated following the evaluation done by the expert committee on the blood clots. Although serious side effects are extremely rare, vaccine recipients should be informed about the risks and advised to seek medical attention immediately if they develop symptoms within the four days to four weeks after receiving vaccination,” he was further quoted by the news portal as saying.
Among the possible side effects, according to Khairy, include severe headaches, blurry vision, weakness and drowsiness, unexplained bleeding and shortness of breath.
The choice is yours, people!