Malaysia will proceed with the purchase and acquisition of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine as there has been no evidence that it causes blood clots, says minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
Khairy, the minister in charge of procuring vaccines for the country, said AstraZeneca had informed Malaysia of the side effects of the vaccine.
So far, he said, there was no data to indicate any direct link between the jab and reports of blood clots which had resulted in deaths in several countries.
“As of now we will not take another stand. The purchase of the AstraZeneca vaccines remains the same,” he said at a joint press conference with Health Minister Dr Adham Baba on the development of the immunisation programme in Putrajaya today.
Several countries such as Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Thailand have paused the rollout of AstraZeneca’s vaccine following reports of blood clots occurring in several individuals after being vaccinated.
Khairy, who is also science, technology and innovation minister, said the ministry would study the clinical data on incidents that have occurred abroad to enable experts to draw conclusions on the vaccine use.
Meanwhile, Adham said the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) conducts thorough studies on any Covid-19 vaccine to be used in Malaysia.
“We trust the NPRA’s decisions, and in the case of the AstraZeneca vaccine we have looked into its quality and safety,” he said.
The Drug Control Authority (DCA) on March 2 approved the conditional registration of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.
Meanwhile, Khairy said Malaysia would take delivery of additional Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines in stages for the first phase of the immunisation programme.
“Today saw the delivery of 83,070 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, we will be receiving 124,020 doses on March 22 and another 125,190 on March 26,” he said.
“Cumulatively, Malaysia will receive 1,000,350 doses of vaccine which will completes the delivery for the first quarter,” he said, adding that 100,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine will also be delivered today.
Asked why Malaysia had procured Covid-19 vaccine in large quantities, Khairy said the bulk purchase was to facilitate the mitigation process, which is to reduce the risk of delays in the delivery of vaccines.
“There is a possibility that we may need to give a ‘booster shot’ which is another dose next year if the pandemic remains, so it is good to have ready stock,” he said.