Health Minister: AstraZeneca vaccine is safe, will be used in Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: The AstraZeneca vaccine is safe and will be used in Malaysia, says Datuk Seri Adham Baba.

The Health Minister said AstraZeneca had held a meeting with the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) on March 17 to explain the situation regarding the safety issues of its vaccine, primarily the side effects related to blood clots (thrombosis).

"According to AstraZeneca, as of March 8,17 million people have received the vaccine in the European Union and United Kingdom.

"Of these vaccine recipients, there have been 15 deep vein thrombosis cases and 22 pulmonary embolism cases reported.

"A detailed evaluation from all these cases has been made by the company and it has been concluded that there is no solid evidence linking the AstraZeneca vaccine to the thromboembolic event incidents," he said in a statement on Wednesday (March 24).

Dr Adham said the number of these cases reported was much lower than the projected number of cases within the population.

"This conclusion is also supported by the European Medical Agency. Thus, it is concluded that the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe to be used," he said.

It was reported that use of the AstraZeneca vaccine had been suspended in several European countries after blood clots were found in some people who received it.

Dr Adham said AstraZeneca safety data from its clinical studies on Nov 4, involving approximately 12,000 volunteers, have shown that no bad side effects were reported.

He said the most commonly-reported side effects were pain at the injection site, fatigue and dizziness, adding that these have been reported to be "mild or moderate".

Dr Adham also pointed out that the data shows that the side effects eased after the second dose compared to the first dose.

"The clinical study also concluded that there were no safety issues regarding its impact on the profile and blood content, including blood clots, after receiving the vaccine," he said.

The reporting of adverse side effects following immunisation of the Covid-19 vaccine can be done through healthcare personnel, the NPRA website or through the MySejahtera app.

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