Malaysia drops AstraZeneca from Covid-19 immunisation plan, offers it on voluntary basis

PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – Malaysia will be offering the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine on a voluntary basis to the general public in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, following concerns about alleged blood clotting in other countries.

Science Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said Malaysia is taking a proactive measure to drop AstraZeneca from the mainstream vaccination programme.

Some European Union members limit the use of the vaccine to specific age groups over alleged clotting side effects.

Mr Khairy, the coordinating minister of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, said these vaccines will be given on a “first-come, first-served” basis, after taking into consideration public concerns.

“We do not want to waste a vaccine that is proven to be safe and effective. But at the same time, we understand there are certain concerns among the public on the AstraZeneca vaccine,” he said on Wednesday (April 28).

“Instead, we will be offering the AstraZeneca vaccines at special PPV (vaccination dispensing centres) to the public on a voluntary first-come, first-served basis,” said Mr Khairy.

He said at a news conference with Health Minister Adham Baba that the PPVs will be opened in Selangor state and Kuala Lumpur where the number of Covid-19 infections are very high.

Malaysia currently has about 268,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, with the first batch arriving in the country last week.

Mr Khairy said he has spoken to Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari to identify suitable PPVs to administer AstraZeneca vaccines.

According to Mr Khairy, the number of blood clot incidents among those who have used AstraZeneca is very rare, with only four cases out of one million people globally.

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