Dr Dzul Wants AstraZeneca’s Explanation On Covid-19 Vaccine Side Effects

Dr Dzul says MOH will seek an explanation from AstraZeneca, after admitting in a UK court that its Covid vaccine can cause “very rare” TTS. MOH clinical guideline says risk of getting blood clots is 100x greater in Covid infection than after vaccination.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 2 — Dzulkefly Ahmad today called for an explanation from AstraZeneca, after the pharmaceutical company admitted in a court case in the United Kingdom that its Covid-19 vaccine could cause a very rare side effect.

The Telegraph reported last Sunday that AstraZeneca, a British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant, admitted in a legal document submitted last February to the UK High Court in a class action suit that its Covid-19 vaccine, developed with the University of Oxford, “can, in very rare cases, cause TTS”. 

TTS (Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome) causes blood clots and a low blood platelet count.

“The Ministry of Health (MOH) will obtain an explanation from AstraZeneca about their admission in court documents that their Covid-19 vaccine causes side effects, including blood clots,” Dzulkefly told a press conference during a visit to Kampung Orang Asli Tun Abdul Razak in Hulu Selangor today during the Kuala Kubu Bharu election campaign.

According to the minister’s press secretary, Azmi Nik-Fathil, the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) has reported five cases of Vaccine-Induced Immune Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia (VITT) in Malaysia as of March 31 this year, or only 0.88 cases per one million AstraZeneca vaccine doses given.

“The rate is comparable to that of other countries based on established reports,” Azmi told CodeBlue.

“The point made by the minister was that at this super low rate, we have to be very mindful that we are saving many lives, and the benefits outweigh the risks many times over”.

The Telegraph reported that scientists first identified a link between AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine and VITT, a new illness, as early as March 2021. Lawyers for the claimants in the UK case reportedly argued that VITT is a subset of TTS, although AstraZeneca does not appear to recognise the term.

In 2021, the MOH’s own study on Covid-19 vaccines found that complete vaccination, or two doses, with Covid-19 vaccines were 83 per cent effective against admission into intensive care and could prevent death from Covid by 88 per cent.

The RECoVaM study on 14.5 million individuals who received two vaccine doses in Malaysia looked at AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Sinovac vaccines.

MOH Malaysia’s clinical guideline on AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine acknowledges reports of TTS, “an exceedingly rare condition” involving blood clots and unusual bleeding in vaccine recipients, based on UK data that suggested around four people developed this condition for every million doses given.

“Although this condition remains extremely rare, the incidence seems to be slightly higher in younger people and tends to occur between 4 days and 2 weeks after the first dose vaccination,” said MOH’s undated clinical guideline.

“It is important to note that this condition can also occur naturally, and clotting problems are a common complication of Covid-19 infection itself. The odds of getting blood clot is 100 times greater in Covid-19 infection as compared to the risk after vaccination”.

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