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Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Still time to decide on AstraZeneca vaccine, says KJ

 

Immunisation coordinating minister Khairy Jamaluddin says shipments of the AstraZeneca vaccine will arrive in May.

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia is awaiting a report from the European Medicines Agency on the Covid-19 vaccine produced by AstraZeneca before deciding whether to carry on with purchases of the vaccine, the government said today.

“We have a bit of time to decide whether or not to go through with this. At the moment, the EMA has not yet issued a report,” said Khairy Jamaluddin, the minister coordinating the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.

Several cases of thrombosis (blood clots) have been reported in European countries among vaccine recipients.

Khairy said the EMA report would determine whether there is “a causal link between the cases of thrombosis (blood clots)” and Malaysia would then determine “whether we go ahead or go ahead with caution”.

Khairy said the AstraZeneca vaccine will be arriving in May from the worldwide Covax joint purchasing facility.

He noted that, following media reports of several recipients suffering from blood clots post-vaccination, some countries have updated their use of the vaccines with caution given to any signs of blood clots post-vaccination.

Yesterday, health minister Dr Adham Baba said Malaysia will continue to use the AstraZeneca vaccine as clinical data available showed that the benefits outweigh the harms.

Langkawi to be testing ground for tourism

Khairy said the government was looking into using Langkawi as a “sandbox destination” or testing ground for the gradual reopening of the tourism sector.

He said there were discussions about allowing travellers who were fully vaccinated to visit Langkawi. “But this would mean all residents in Langkawi must be fully vaccinated as well.”

He also said in the future, the government may need to adopt certain regulations such as requiring travellers to undergo Covid-19 tests on top of being fully vaccinated, arguing that Covid-19 will more than likely become endemic.

“It may not be good enough to show you’re fully vaccinated,” he said, adding that there were concerns over new virus mutations despite global immunisation efforts.

Khairy’s remarks were made in a panel discussion on vaccine roll outs organised by the CIMB Asean Research Institute and the Asean Business Advisory Council. - FMT

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