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Malaysia COVID-19 task force cooperating with authorities over claims of improperly administered vaccine doses

Malaysia COVID-19 task force cooperating with authorities over claims of improperly administered vaccine doses

A health worker holds a vial of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination center at Sunway Medical centre in Sunway, outskirt of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Friday, June 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's COVID-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) said it is cooperating with police and the armed forces to investigate claims of recipients not being properly injected with vaccines. 

This came after accounts of separate incidents went viral on social media; one of which involving claims of being jabbed with an empty syringe.  

In a statement posted on its Twitter account on Monday (Jul 19), CITF said it viewed the claims seriously. 

"If found guilty, CITF will not hesitate to terminate the services of the officers involved and take firm actions based on the provisions of the law," it said. 

CITF said the first case happened last Saturday (Jul 17) at a drive-through vaccination centre at Sungai Petani airport camp in Kedah, which was set up for the armed forces personnel and their family members. 

The centre was staffed by personnel from the camp's medical facility, it added. 

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

The statement did not reveal the details of this incident. However, it said the individuals involved have been called to give their explanation. 

"Disciplinary action has been taken against the vaccination staff member on duty," the statement read. 

The two other claims involving empty syringes happened at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MITEC) in Kuala Lumpur on Jul 17 and Bangi Avenue Convention Centre on Jul 18. 

Police reports have been made regarding these two cases, CITF said. 

CITF added that according to the standard operating procedure, vaccination staff on duty has to show syringes filled with vaccine to the recipients prior to the injection. 

Members of the public are encouraged to look at the syringes before and after the vaccination process, the statement read. This is so that recipients can be sure that an injection with the right dosage has been administered, it added. 

On Facebook, a man claimed that he was jabbed with an empty syringe - with its plunger pushed to the end - at MITEC on Jul 17.  

When asked if she was sure the jab was properly administered, the nurse was said to have replied, "Should be. If you want I can give you another one." 

The man claimed that he was given another jab, this time with him witnessing the nurse withdrawing vaccine from the vial and pushing the vaccine into his arm. 

"I'm raising this issue because it could be extremely (dangerous) if you didn't get vaccinated properly and you (are) so happy thinking that you got vaccinated," the man wrote. 

There have been several prior claims of underdosing and empty syringe since Malaysia's national vaccination drive was rolled out. 

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 in May.

Earlier this month, a man said he was given a second shot upon realising that he was given an empty injection after checking his recording of the vaccination process. 

The Selangor Health Department had then 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.

More than 14 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Malaysia since the national drive kicked off on Feb 24. About 4.5 million people are now fully vaccinated. 

Malaysia has seen a spike in daily new cases in the past week, with record high cases and fatalities pushing the national tally over 900,000 cases and 7,000 deaths. 

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Source: CNA/tx

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