Health DG: No myocarditis and pericarditis cases linked to use of mRNA Covid-19 vaccines in Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia has had no cases of myocarditis and pericarditis associated with the use of Covid-19 mRNA vaccine, says the Health Ministry amid reports of such illnesses happening in the United States, United Kingdom and Singapore recently.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (pic) stressed that the current benefits of receiving the vaccine far outweigh the risks, and that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine - the only mRNA vaccine type used in Malaysia - will continue to be administered.

"The National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) has conducted a risk assessment on the safety issues based on information obtained from regulatory bodies and international references.

"The Ministry concluded that the safety profile of this vaccine remained positive, and its use in the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme will not be affected.

"The current benefits of giving this vaccine far outweigh the risks," said Dr Noor Hisham in a statement on Saturday (June 19).

Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle, while pericarditis refers to inflammation of the outer layer of the heart.

Symptoms or symptoms associated with myocarditis or pericarditis include chest pain, changes in heart rate and breathing difficulty.

As of June 13, a total of 2,793,826 of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines were administered to the Malaysian population, involving a total of 1,676,959 first doses and 1,116,867 second doses.

"To date, there are no reports of adverse event following immunisation (AEFI) specific to myocarditis or pericarditis received by the NPRA or the Ministry," he said.

To date, no regulatory action has also been taken by other international bodies such as the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Covid-19 mRNA vaccine products, he added.

"Evaluation is still underway to determine the relationship of this issue to the Covid-19 mRNA type vaccine.

"The Health Ministry will always conduct continuous monitoring through quality monitoring programmes of registered products and pharmacovigilance to ensure the quality, safety and effectiveness of vaccine products are always guaranteed," he said.

The Ministry will inform the public of the latest developments from time to time, said Dr Noor Hisham, who also urged the public to register for the Covid-19 vaccine.

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