by S BIRRUNTHA & HARIZAH KAMEL / pic by TMR FILE
MALAYSIA has asked vaccine manufacturer AstraZeneca-Oxford to inform the European Union (EU) that all AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine manufacturers are using the same formulation.
This follows the European Medical Agency’s (EMA) decision to not recognise AZ vaccines manufactured in South Korea, Thailand and Japan.
National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NCIP) Coordinating Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar (picture) said there was no reason for EMA to discriminate against vaccines produced by different facilities.
“AstraZeneca-Oxford also needs to tell them that all these facilities adopt good manufacturing practices,” he said at the NCIP press conference with Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba yesterday.
Khairy said his party would seek a detailed explanation from the EU on its immigration policy regarding the provision of vaccines from facilities that are unrecognised by the EMA.
He would also discuss the matter with the ambassador of the EU delegation to Malaysia, Michalis Rokas.
Meanwhile, Khairy said the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will only be given to adolescents with underlying medical conditions for now.
He said the rest of the adolescent population will be vaccinated after the vaccination for the adult population is completed.
“This is as a precaution to ensure that children and teenagers with health problems could be protected.
“Last week, the Special Committee on Ensuring Access to Covid-19 Supply experts gave a lengthy explanation, so we will be more careful in vaccinating teenagers,” he said.
Vaccination will also be given to teachers and support staff including bus drivers when schools reopen.
In the meantime, Khairy said vaccination appointments are being given to students who will pursue their studies abroad, covering those who have or will reach the age of 18 this year.
To date, 8,615 vaccine appointments have been given to such students.
On a separate matter, Dr Adham said a total of 584 cases recorded in the country were of the new Covid-19 variant, involving a more widespread and rapid infection, which is said to be airborne.
He added that the data was obtained through several precautionary measures for the threat of Delta variant, including genome sequencing.
He said a total of 40 cases were identified from Delta variant (B.1.617.2), 136 cases from Beta; 10 cases from Alpha; two from B1525; four from B161.7.14; and 392 cases from variants of concern.
“Ongoing prevention and control activities are being carried out for any cases detected through high daily cases in an area.
“From there, we will make a genome sequence and know whether the individual got the infection from the new variant,” he said.
On another note, Dr Adham said a total of 18.6 self-responses on an adverse event following immunisation (AEFI) were received through the MySejahtera application for every 1,000 doses of vaccine given since the NCIP was launched, mostly headaches, pain at the injection site and fatigue.
“Only 0.07 AEFI for every 1,000 doses is classified as serious and needs to be hospitalised,” he said.
Malaysia reported 6,387 new Covid-19 cases yesterday, with Selangor recording the most cases at 2,610, followed by Kuala Lumpur (819) and Negri Sembilan (523).
A total of 923 cases were admitted into the intensive care unit (ICU) with 443 requiring respiratory aid, while 13 new clusters were identified.
There were 77 new deaths and 4,532 new recoveries yesterday.
Separately, Penang will transition to the next phase of the National Recovery Plan effective tomorrow.
Penang recorded an average 9.5 cases per 100,000 for seven straight days, its ICU ward bed utilisation rate at a moderate level and the rate of complete vaccination on the adult population at 10.1%.
Meanwhile, the National Security Council has also allowed Employees’ Provident Fund offices in EMCO areas to operate from 9am to 1pm with a capacity of 60% employee to manage the distribution of government assistance schemes.