Malaysia To Use AstraZeneca Vaccine When Delivered: Khairy

AstraZeneca says it found no evidence of increased risk of blood clot conditions after reviewing reported cases among over 17 million people who received its Covid-19 vaccine.

KUALA LUMPUR, March 15 — Malaysia will use AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine when doses arrive, Khairy Jamaluddin said today, despite several European countries suspending rollouts of the shot.

Ireland and the Netherlands have paused rollout of AstraZeneca’s vaccine over concerns on blood clots occurring in patients post-vaccination, after earlier suspensions by Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and Bulgaria. 

“We have received information from AstraZeneca regarding the effects on vaccination. So far, there is no data which shows direct relationship with vaccination and reported blood clot cases which have caused deaths in a few countries,” Khairy said in a joint virtual press conference with Health Minister Dr Adham Baba.

“However, we are still investigating that matter. AstraZeneca vaccines haven’t been used in Malaysia.”

Until AstraZeneca’s vaccines reach Malaysia, the government will look into the clinical data on incidents that have occured and make further announcements after getting review from experts, Khairy added. 

“As of now, we don’t take another stand. The purchase of the AstraZeneca vaccines remains the same in Malaysia,” he said.

“We are supposed to get AstraZeneca vaccines in the first quarter of the year, but until now, we haven’t received their delivery schedule.” 

Dr Adham said today that the government trusts the decision made by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) to give conditional registration to AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine, saying the agency conducts thorough research before approving a vaccine. 

AstraZeneca today reassured the public about the safety of its Covid-19 vaccine based on scientific evidence. 

According to the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company, a review of safety data of more than 17 million people vaccinated with its shot in the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) showed no increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or thrombocytopenia in any specific age group, gender, vaccine batch, or any particular country.

So far, a total of 15 DVT cases and 22 pulmonary embolism incidents among AstraZeneca vaccine receivers have been reported across the EU and UK, as of March 8.

“This is much lower than would be expected to occur naturally in a general population of this size and is similar across other licensed Covid-19 vaccines,” AstraZeneca said in a statement today.

“Furthermore, in clinical trials, even though the number of thrombotic events was small, these were lower in the vaccinated group. There has also been no evidence of increased bleeding in over 60,000 participants enrolled.”

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