Vaccines ‘approved and safe’

Once the vaccine is deemed effective and safe, it goes into the manufacturing and quality control phases which will take between 10 and 15 years, but for Covid-19, it will be compressed into about two years. Photo: Reuters

KUCHING: The Covid-19 vaccines that are approved for use in Malaysia are safe and effective, said Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) Sarawak chairman Dr Teh Siao Hean.

“It has been reported in the lay press in some countries, most recently in Hong Kong that there have been deaths within days of receiving the Covid-19 vaccine.

“We should not jump to conclusions that such reports mean that the deaths are due to the vaccine. An example is a person dying from a road traffic accident or a heart attack after getting the vaccinated; this is not the fault of the vaccine.

“It has been estimated that 2.34 million Malaysians are aged 65 and above; and about 1,755 of these senior citizens die every week of other causes or diseases even without Covid-19 vaccination,” he said.

Dr Teh said these are the expected ‘baseline’ deaths every week and not deaths due to the vaccine but from other illnesses.

“However, just because a Covid-19 vaccine has been given and a person dies soon after that, we cannot simply conclude that the vaccine caused the death,” he said.

He said this in a statement when contacted by New Sarawak Tribune on the reported cases of deaths due to the Covid-19 vaccines.

Dr Teh said more than 200 million doses of vaccines have been administered and the authorities are monitoring all vaccine adverse events including deaths.

“In Malaysia, the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) rigorously analyses all data on safety and effectiveness before approving any vaccine for use.

“To date, the Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Sinovac vaccines have been approved for use in Malaysia. These vaccines are safe and effective,” he said.

He said minor side effects such as local pain at the injection site, mild fever and body aches are well known and to be expected. He added, in fact, these effects show that the body is responding to the vaccine and it is working.

“We hope everyone in Sarawak will trust the strict processes that the approved vaccines have undergone that they are safe and effective and register to get their vaccinations during Phases 2 and 3,” he said.