No plans yet to mix and match vaccines due to lack of data

PUTRAJAYA: The Ministry of Health (MOH) does not plan to mix and match Covid-19 vaccines due to lack of adequate data on the matter, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said.

He said so far, the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) has not received any data, reports or evidence from vaccine companies on how vaccine mixture can successfully control Covid-19 infection.

“We are still monitoring this situation (vaccine mix) if there is a need to implement. For now, there is still no need for it.

“Especially if you mix Western and Eastern vaccines, for example, Pfizer, Astra Zeneca and Sinovac, there is no evidence that it is successful,” he said in a special media conference here today.

Dr Noor Hisham said the MOH could not recommend the method if there was no evidence because it needs to ensure it is safe for the public.

“Only when there are studies, we can advise whether to mix the vaccines or not,” he said.

The media have been reporting how Thailand, as part of their latest immunisation strategy, intends to use the AstraZeneca vaccine as a second dose for those who received Sinovac as their first dose.

Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said the country’s vaccination rate should be increased to 40 per cent to reduce new cases of Covid-19 infection.

He said this should be done immediately as Malaysia was currently in a critical period following the increase in infections to five figures.

He said a high vaccination rate was also able to prevent the high number of fatalities, as what happened in the United Kingdom, which was one death in 50 people in January, when the percentage of the population vaccinated was lower.

He said once vaccination (drive) was expanded, fatalities there fell to one in a 1,000 people and there were also fewer people hospitalised, adding that it was important to be vaccinated to reduce the number of hospital admissions and intensive care unit treatment.

The country’s vaccination rate stands at 11.3 per cent to date, he said, adding that vaccination has also been proven to reduce severe effects of Covid-19 infection.

“Six weeks after Phase 2 of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK), involving senior citizens, those with comorbidities and persons with disabilities (PwD), we found that admissions for those aged over 60 and above are reducing.

“Instead, we see an increase (in cases) on those who are younger and those yet to be vaccinated,” he said. – Bernama