M’sia ceased distributing AstraZeneca vaccine ‘long ago’, says doctor

GEORGE TOWN: The distribution of the AstraZeneca vaccine for Covid-19 in Malaysia ceased long ago, after the pandemic was brought under control.

Hospital Penang infectious disease unit head Dr Chow Ting Soo said when the Health Ministry offered the fourth dose of vaccines in 2022, the AstraZeneca vaccine was no longer in stock.

“We stopped keeping stock of that vaccine long ago,” she said.

Private clinics also said that they were no longer supplied with the Covid-19 vaccine.

A branch manager of a private clinic here, Masliza Malek, said they have not received any vaccine supplies since last year.

“We received Sinovac, Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines during the initial phase of vaccine distribution,” she said, adding that distribution was stopped last year when only government clinics and hospitals were allowed to distribute these vaccines.

ALSO READ: Covid-19: Health Ministry to issue statement on AstraZeneca vaccine soon, says Dr Dzul

On Tuesday, AstraZeneca said it had begun the worldwide withdrawal of its Covid-19 vaccine called Vaxzevria due to a “surplus of available updated vaccines” since the pandemic first struck.

According to media reports, the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker had admitted in court documents that the vaccine causes side effects such as blood clots and low blood platelet counts in “more than one in 10 people”.

On Monday, Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad assured that his ministry would disclose data on adverse events following immunisation resulting from Covid-19 vaccines.

Elsewhere, some people who received AstraZeneca vaccines expressed worries about the latest development, while others said they had felt no adverse effects.

After receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine three years ago, a woman claimed she quickly became tired and experienced foot cramps when standing for extended periods of time.

ALSO READ: MOH wants AstraZeneca’s transparency on adverse reactions to vaccine

“As a physical education teacher, this was not a problem for me before this, but after getting the vaccine, I felt otherwise,” said the 35-year-old teacher, who only wanted to be known as Hana, adding that she did not get the symptoms right away after the vaccinations but only felt what she claimed as side effects late last year.

Hana was vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine in June and August 2021 and received another booster jab in early 2022.

Technician Mohd Azmir Kamal, 44, said he did not feel anything unusual after he was injected with the vaccine.

“I felt healthy as usual,” he said, adding that he rarely experienced flu or fevers nowadays.

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