KUALA LUMPUR, August 13 — Malaysia requires more scientific evidence before acknowledging Russia’s newly approved Covid-19 vaccine, Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said today.
The Health director-general stated that Malaysia’s Ministry of Health (MOH) has not received any research data regarding the vaccine.
“Many questions without answers have arisen. Is this vaccine effective? What is the coverage rate of this vaccine? Will the antibody remain unchanged? Do we need a booster dose for the vaccine? How frequent should the booster be provided?” Dr Noor Hisham told a press meet.
He said that there is a lack of scientific evidence or scientific publications on the vaccine, echoing concerns from other scientists and US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr Anthony Fauci, who told National Geographic he doubted that Russia has proven its vaccine is safe and effective.
“So we have to wait for the research and publications on the vaccine before determining its effectiveness,” he added.
It is to be noted that Russia has approved and is ready to market a Covid-19 vaccine, but scientists have reportedly expressed concern about the opaque development of the Sputnik V vaccine and the lack of mass testing through Phase 3 trials. Dr Fauci reportedly cautioned people not to put high hopes on Russia’s vaccine.
“So far, we know through the news that there is a vaccine that has been launched or registered, but no scientific proof for us to see,” Dr Noor Hisham mentioned.
“The most important thing is, we have to see the effectiveness of that vaccine and the side effects caused by the vaccine.”
He also said data from the third phase of clinical research — the final step in testing the vaccine on a diverse group of thousands of people to identify the safest dose for the general public, and to see how well the vaccine works — is needed.
“We are not sure if the third phase trials have been conducted. If yes, then we have to see the data before acknowledging the usage of the vaccine,” he stated.