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'Quite impossible' for COVID-19 vaccine recipient to be injected with empty syringe: Selangor health department

'Quite impossible' for COVID-19 vaccine recipient to be injected with empty syringe: Selangor health department

FILE PHOTO: A woman holds a small bottle labelled with a "Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine" sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration taken October 30, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

SHAH ALAM: The Selangor Health Department has dismissed a claim that one COVID-19 vaccine recipient was injected with an empty syringe. 

A video purportedly showing a man being injected with an empty syringe was shared on social media.

According to the man's account, he only knew that he was given an empty injection after checking his recording of the vaccination process that he went through. 

He added that he was given a second shot after confronting the vaccinators. It is believed that he later lodged a police report claiming that he was injected with an empty syringe at Banting Hospital in Selangor on Tuesday (Jul 6).

In a statement issued on Thursday, the director of the Selangor Health Department said that all vaccination centres must always ensure that the standard operating procedures (SOPs) set by the Ministry of Health (MOH) are adhered to and the vaccination process is at an optimum level.

Dr Sha'ari Ngadiman said several guidelines must be followed during the vaccination process. Among them, the vaccinators involved must be from a pool of qualified and trained personnel who have been formally appointed by the Selangor Health Department.

He said at least two personnel must be at every station to see to the vaccine administration - one person acts as the vaccinator, while the other prepares the vaccine and serves as the witness while the vaccine is being administered.

READ: Johor 'will test, trace and vaccinate better', says chief minister after meeting with crown prince

“The inoculation procedure must follow the intramuscular injection technique and once the vaccine has been administered, the emptied syringe will be disposed into a sharps disposal container placed near the vaccinator,” said Dr Sha’ari.

“With strict adherence to these measures, it is quite impossible for a recipient to be vaccinated with an empty syringe,” he said.

A medical staff member administers the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to a health personnel at Sunway Medical Center in Subang Jaya, on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, on March 11, 2021. (Photo: Mohd RASFAN / AFP)

Before this, there have been other media reports of the vaccination process not being properly administered, with recipients not getting the right dosage or not being injected with the vaccine at all.

In May, an elderly woman had to be injected twice after it was discovered that her first vaccination was not complete with no vaccine actually injected into her.

A video of her first vaccination process was uploaded on Facebook by her son and those who saw the video clip voiced their suspicion that the vaccination process was incomplete.

The woman was given another jab when she returned to the vaccination centre at the Kuala Lumpur Titiwangsa Stadium for clarification.

Sin Chew Daily quoted the COVID-19 Immunisation Task Force as saying that the syringe needle broke during the first jab, as the woman's arm muscle was too tense due to nervousness.

READ: COVID-19 - Southeast Asia sees spike in new cases, deaths as region struggles to contain Delta variant

FILE PHOTO: A medical worker holds a bottle of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia May 5, 2021 in this file photo. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng

Several other underdosing incidents were reported as well in May. 

A man realised that he had been given less than the supposed 0.5ml of AstraZeneca vaccine, after checking his vaccination video.

According to Malaysiakini, the man went back to the vaccine dispensing centre two days later to receive his top-up dose.

He was one of the three known underdosing cases, according to the report. 

It is not known how many people have potentially received a reduced dose or how members of the public can check if they received the appropriate dose, the report added.

Following the reported incidents, a directive was issued to medical personnel assisting in the COVID-19 vaccination effort that they must show recipients the syringe filled with the vaccine.

The message, as seen by Malaysiakini, said that those who administer the vaccine should ensure that the correct volume - 0.5ml - is shown. 

MOH has confirmed to Malaysiakini that the directive is authentic.

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Source: AGENCIES/ih

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