PUTRAJAYA, April 27 — The number of blood clot or thrombosis cases after receiving the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine jab is low and rare, said the Health Ministry’s (MOH) Covid-19 Vaccine Candidate Selection Sub-Committee (JKKPCV) chairman, Dr Kalaiarasu M Periasamy.
According to him, based on data from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA), there have been 168 cases of thrombosis detected worldwide since March and, during that period, about 21.6 million individuals worldwide had received the AstraZeneca vaccine jab.
“This is a very small number compared to the number of vaccine doses. In fact, there is no evidence even though (this has been) voiced by the EMA,” he said at a media engagement session on vaccines, here, yesterday.
Although some countries had previously suspended the use of the vaccine in their respective countries due to the side effects, it has been resumed after the latest data was obtained, he said.
Belgium, for example, is one country that stopped the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine but resumed it after the EMA gave its support on its safety, he said.
To boost the people’s confidence in the effectiveness of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, MOH deputy director-general (Education and Technical Support) Dr Hishamshah Mohd Ibrahim explained that each vaccine was purchased after going through an evaluation process by the Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee Special Committee (JKJAV) and the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA).
He said the process was aimed at ensuring that each Covid-19 vaccine met safety standards for health and the human body as well as was of high quality.
“People’s confidence (regarding the use of vaccines) must be ensured and that any side effects, such as blood clots, are a rare occurrence.
“We will also constantly monitor the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine to see what side effects occur,” he added.
According to media reports, the AstraZeneca vaccine developed by Oxford University was reported to have a 76 per cent effectiveness against symptomatic infections for three months after receiving the first dose and the percentage (of effectiveness) is expected to increase if the recipient is given a second dose.
Malaysia received 268,800 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine through the Covax facility last Saturday.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said the AstraZeneca vaccine was safe and would be used in the vaccination process for people aged 60 and above.
Meanwhile, MOH Infectious Disease physician Dr Benedict Sim Lim Heng advised vaccine recipients to refer to any hospital if they experience side effects within four to 14 days, despite having taken painkillers.
According to him, among the symptoms of side effects after the vaccine injection are severe headache, blurred vision, nausea and vomiting as well as shortness of breath.