Covid-19 Vaccines Saved Lives — Dr Musa Mohd Nordin

In terms of lives saved and economic value, the Covid-19 vaccination campaign is likely to be the most impactful public health response in recent memory.

The Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM) is up to mischief again in misinforming the public. I had debunked their pseudoscience in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. The answers to their 19 questions about the safety and efficacy of mRNA vaccines can be viewed here and they have not offered any rebuttal or counter-arguments since.

In their latest disinformation campaign against the Covid-19 vaccines, they have demanded an immediate withdrawal of mRNA vaccines, following alarming safety concerns.

As per usual for the anti-vaccine lobby, their self-proclaimed experts speak in broad generic terms and hollow rhetoric, with no evidence-based science offered. 

One alleged that “Everywhere we see people dying, most of them are suffering, and they cannot work”

This fear-mongering strategy, devoid of any facts or figures, creates panic among the gullible and ill-informed members of the public. 

It presents an opportunity for them to market their herbs, brain tonics, worm medicines, mega-vitamins, and their detoxification supplement called nattokinase, developed by Peter McCullough to detoxify spike proteins. Experts have rubbished the mRNA vaccine detoxification supplement.

None of these alternative remedies have undergone double blind randomised control trials, the benchmark of evidence-based medicine to verify their efficacy and safety.

Another darling of the anti-vaccine campaign, Pierre Kory, had at least two of his scientific papers on worm medicine, ivermectin, retracted due to poor statistics or just faking the numbers.

Within eight months since the pandemic started, by August 2021, the Covid-19 vaccination campaigns in 141 countries have prevented 2.4 million excess deaths.

If the vaccines had been equitably distributed, another 670,000 more lives could have been saved.  

The deaths averted had an economic value of US$6.5 trillion, about 9 per cent of the combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the 141 countries.

A year-long study between December 8, 2020 and December 8, 2021 estimated that the vaccines prevented 14·4 million deaths in 185 countries.

If the World Health Organization (WHO) target of 40 per cent of getting all eligible members of the population fully dosed was met, another 599,300 deaths could have been averted.

In the COVAX Advance Market Commitment countries, an estimated 7.4 million deaths were averted. If the 20 per cent vaccination coverage target set by COVAX had been met by the low-income countries, another 81,750 deaths could have been prevented. 

In the Malaysian context, the former director of the Institute for Clinical Research, Dr Kalaiarasu Peariasamy, said that Covid-19 vaccines prevented between 16,000 and 17,000 deaths.

The vaccine deaths alleged by PPIM and their cohort of self-proclaimed experts are more likely to be deaths from Covid-19 infection, the highest in the unvaccinated, of which the world and Malaysia have unfortunately clocked 7 million and 37,000 deaths respectively.

The two studies illustrate the profound impact of the live-saving Covid-19 vaccines. And more lives could have been saved if the vaccines had been distributed more rapidly and equitably to most parts of the world. 

In terms of lives saved and economic value, the Covid-19 vaccination campaign is likely to be the most impactful public health response in recent memory.

Dr Musa Mohd Nordin is a pediatrician at KPJ Damansara Specialist Hospital.

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

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