Rate of adverse reactions to vaccine low

Dr Kiyu (right) speaking during the online talk on Friday.

KUCHING: The Covid-19 vaccine is relatively safe for the public, views Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) public health expert Prof Datuk Dr Andrew Kiyu Dawie.

He said from vaccination data in the United States of America, there were only 0.2 per cent of adverse events from 1.8 million doses that has been administered.

“There are 175 cases of possible allergic reactions. After further review, 86 were non anaphylactic, 61 were not allergic and seven are still under review.

“The one that the people are worried about is anaphylactic, which is a severe allergic reaction. However, 71 per cent of this occur within the first 15 minute of the vaccination.

“That is why those vaccinated have to be observed for at least 15 minutes at the centres to make sure they don’t have this reaction,” he said in an online talk on the Covid-19 vaccines on Friday (Feb 26).

Dr Kiyu said the medicine would be prepared in advance for such event at the vaccination centre and the rate of anaphylaxis was about 11.1 case per one million doses.

“But a lot of those who have this (anaphylaxis) have documented allergies or allergic reactions. However, all had recovered and the rate of severe allergic reaction to the vaccine is very rare.”

He also said in medicine, there was no such thing as being completely safe as drugs may have their own side effects.

“Even Panadol has side effects, it is a matter of balancing risks and benefits. I know some wouldn’t accept this as they don’t want to hear about the benefits and risks – they want to be 100 per cent sure.

“I am afraid if this is what they want, then it is not possible.”

Dr Kiyu noted that some people would compare the vaccines to safety belts in vehicles where despite it being not 100 per cent effective, it still remains in use.

“In fact (safety belts) too can cause harm, but still we use them. However, other parts of the car have to be protected – all of this combined together will provide ample protection (against Covid-19).”