KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 20: Despite concerns over the new vaccine in combating the COVID-19 pandemic, a medical expert opines that the vaccine is the best solution in dealing with the outbreak which has no other specific treatment so far.
The Health Ministry’s (MOH) Clinical Research Institute (ICR) director, Dr Kalairasu Peariasamy said the discovery of the vaccine was an important milestone in the fight against the virus, which has claimed the lives of nearly three million people worldwide over the past 12 months.
Dr Kalairasu said this on Astro Awani’s ‘Awani Agenda’ programme titled ‘Vaccine Safety and Effectiveness’ when commenting on Norwegian Medicines Agency report regarding the death toll of senior citizens in Norway linked to the COVID-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer-BioNTech.
Malaysians do not have to worry too much about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine to be used because the MOH’s National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) has examined all the reports from the vaccine manufacturer before approving its use.
“We know from studies and reports, some vaccine recipients actually get a fever or feel lethargic, probably due to weakness..they also have chronic diseases, (so) they actually die due to complications from their old age.
Malaysia is scheduled to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine which has got conditional approval from the NPRA, by the end of February.
Dr Kalairasu said the vaccine had undergone three phases of clinical trials which had to comply with strict rules in order for a substance or product to be applied to humans.
“Also, in phases two and three, they have already given the vaccine to more than 40,000 people aged between 16 and 80,“ he said.
On the effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against mutations or new variants of COVID-19 such as the fast-spreading B117 (UK variant), he said the existing vaccines were adequate.
“What we have noticed from the response we got from the Pfizer vaccine so far is adequate for this mutation as well. However, further studies are still being done by Pfizer and for those who received this vaccine, they do not have to worry because the vaccine’s response is enough to provide immunity against mutation variants as well,” he said.- Bernama