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Malaysia to continue using AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine: Health Minister

Malaysia to continue using AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine: Health Minister

A medical worker speaks to a man under observation after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, at Sunway Medical Centre in Subang Jaya, Malaysia, Mar 12, 2021. (Photo: REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng)

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia will continue to use the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in the country's COVID-19 vaccination programme, said health minister Adham Baba. 

Dr Adham said the decision was made at the COVID-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee Special Committee's meeting on Tuesday (Apr 6). 

“The use of the AstraZeneca vaccine will continue because clinical data available still points to benefits rather than harms,” Dr Adham told reporters on Tuesday. 

He said the health ministry takes note of reported adverse effects and cases of thrombocytopenia or low blood platelet count. 

According to media reports, seven people died out of 30 who received the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in the United Kingdom and suffered from blood clot issues.

READ: Malaysia to receive first 600,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 shots in June

British health regulators are reportedly considering recommendations to ban the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for younger people over concerns about very rare blood clots. 

Last Friday, Malaysia's health ministry granted conditional approval for the AstraZeneca vaccine to be supplied through the COVAX facility by South Korean manufacturer SK Bioscience. 

Malaysia would also procure 10 per cent of the AstraZeneca vaccines from Thailand through direct purchase, said Dr Adham. 

On Tuesday, Malaysia reported 1,300 new COVID-19 cases and five new deaths, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 353,329. 

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