Covid-19 Vaccine Injury Fund Should Cover ‘AZ Mothers’ — Hannah Yeoh

Khairy Jamaluddin’s announcement came too late and caused great distress among expectant and nursing mothers who already received their AstraZeneca vaccination.

I refer to the recent announcement made by Vaccine Minister Khairy Jamaluddin that current clinical guidelines state that both Sinovac and AstraZeneca are not advised for pregnant women for the time being.

While I welcome this clarification in view of the genuine fears and concerns shared by expectant and nursing mothers in relation to receiving Covid-19 vaccination, the announcement came too late and caused great distress among mothers who have received their AstraZeneca vaccination (“AZ mothers”).

The AstraZeneca opt-in programme commenced on May 5, 2021, almost two weeks before the announcement was made by Khairy. The side effects on AZ mothers and their babies remain to be seen, and this issue cannot be taken lightly.

As such, I write this with great urgency calling upon the government to immediately:

  • Extend the Covid-19 vaccine injury fund by the National Disaster Management Agency to cover these AZ mothers (who have received their vaccinations in the period between May 5 to 17, 2021), guaranteeing compensation ranging from RM50,000 to RM500,000, if they suffer side effects after being immunised. Similarly, this should apply to any expectant or nursing mothers who received the Sinovac vaccination prior to Khairy’s announcement.
  • Provide medically safe follow-up measures in relation to their second dose without delay; and
  • Give clear instructions at all vaccination centres (PPVs) to ensure expectant and nursing mothers know the risks involved.

The Perikatan Nasional government’s default mode of “do first, plan later” governance must stop immediately. They cannot treat vaccination announcements the same way they meddle with flip-flop SOPs.

The stress of being infected with Covid-19 is excruciating for pregnant and nursing mothers, what more the anxiety for having received an unsuitable vaccination.

One life lost is one too many. This has to be a priority for the Ministry of Health today.

Hannah Yeoh is the Member of Parliament for Segambut and former Deputy Minister for Women, Family and Community Development.

  • This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.

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