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Malaysia deliberating over use of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine after EU findings

Malaysia deliberating over use of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine after EU findings

A medical worker receives a COVID-19 vaccine shot at Kuala Lumpur Hospital on Mar 1, 2021. (Photo: Reuters/Lim Huey Teng)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is deliberating whether to proceed with using the AstraZeneca vaccine for its national COVID-19 immunisation programme, following the European Medicines Agency's (EMA) review.

Coordinating Minister for the Immunisation Programme Khairy Jamaluddin on Thursday (Apr 8) said Malaysia has taken note of EMA’s announcement and that the vaccination committee will deliberate on the matter.

“Safety is paramount,” he said in a post on Twitter.

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The EMA on Wednesday said it found rare cases of blood clots among some adult vaccine recipients, although it said the vaccine's advantages still outweighed the risks.

Malaysia has secured a total of 12.8 million doses from AstraZeneca, half of which will come via the global COVAX facility.

Khairy said earlier that Malaysia still has time to decide if it would use the AstraZeneca vaccine as supplies will only arrive from the COVAX facility in May.

READ: European countries may have to mix COVID-19 shots amid AstraZeneca crisis

READ: EU health ministers fail to agree common guidance on AstraZeneca COVID-19 shot

Apart from AstraZeneca's vaccine, Malaysia has secured a total of 66.7 million vaccine doses from US drugmaker Pfizer-BioNTech, Russia's Gamaleya Institute, and China's Sinovac Biotech and CanSino Biologics.

According to the minister, 80 per cent of the vaccines supplied to Malaysia have already been dispensed to people. Efforts need to be ramped up if the country is to achieve its target of vaccinating 80 per cent of its population by December, he said.

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Source: AGENCIES/cna/zl


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