IPOH: The Health Ministry will try to expedite approval for influenza vaccine that private hospitals have applied for.
Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said as there was an urgent need for the vaccine, the ministry would try its best to speed up the process.
He said some 100,000 doses of the vaccine would arrive this month.
“It takes time for manufacturers to make and deliver them. Whenever there is an epidemic, there will be some lag time for the supplies, ” he told reporters after attending a groundbreaking ceremony of the Botani Village commercial project at Bandar Seri Botani here yesterday.
It was reported that there was a shortage of the vaccine in the private sector.
This was due to the failure of the country’s five registered suppliers to meet demand, with the ministry giving special approval to get some 1.1 million ampules from an alternative supplier for private health facilities.
Dr Lee stressed that not all influenza patients need the vaccine.
“Healthy ones do not need it. Just those who are at high risk.
“At the ministry, we give it to frontline healthcare workers, ” he said, adding that those with chronic illnesses and those recommended by specialists would also get the vaccine.
Nonetheless, he urged the people to take note of any prolonged symptoms.
“Some of these symptoms include prolonged fever of up to five days, difficulty breathing, lack of appetite, as well as yellowish, greenish or bloody phlegm.
“If these signs persist, the patient should seek further treatment at a hospital, ” he said.
On influenza-related deaths, Dr Lee said there were so far only one case recorded in Pahang.
“We’ve checked the other case in Johor Baru and it is not related to influenza, ” he said.
In Johor Baru, Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal reiterated that seven-year-old Nur Dinie Damia Muhammad Noor Ain’s death was not linked to Influenza A.
“Our statements are based on clinical data from Hospital Sultanah Aminah, and I would not comment on results from a private hospital, ” he told reporters after officiating a health carnival organised by the Malaysia Medical Association Johor at a mall.
Dr Sahruddin said this when asked to comment on a Facebook post by one of the family members of the supposed victim, expressing their disappointment and claiming that Nur Dinie had influenza.
It was reported that Nur Dinie died at 10.46pm on Monday due to liver and kidney failure.
She had been warded at the intensive care unit of Hospital Sultanah Aminah since Jan 10 after being transferred from a private medical centre.
The victim had tested negative for influenza after a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test was conducted.
On influenza, Dr Sahruddin told the public not to panic as it was a normal occurrence at the end or beginning of the year.
“Influenza is a common occurrence and people typically recover from it after a while. The public does not have to worry too much about the number of people who contracted influenza, ” he said.