KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 31 — About a third of Malaysians polled said they are either scared or are suspicious of Covid-19 vaccines with most indicating fear of possible side effects, according to the findings of a Ministry of Health’s survey that aimed to gauge public sentiment of the serums.
The rest, or 67 per cent of the 212,006 respondents that participated in the survey, were more welcoming, with up to 95 per cent of them expressing confidence that the vaccines are safe for use.
This was followed by another 80 per cent saying it would work against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. Meanwhile close to 70 per cent of those supportive of the vaccines had no doubts about the safety of its ingredients.
For those outside this category, 17 per cent of respondents said they are unsure, with over 83 per cent of them expressing fear of possible side effects.
Up to 78 per cent from those in the uncertain group were also less confident that the vaccines would work while 71 per cent felt they would be unsafe for use.
Those who totally rejected the vaccines accounted for 16 per cent of the respondents.
From this group, over 96 per cent said side effects were the primary reason for opposing vaccination while close to 85 per cent were suspicious of its ingredients.
More than three-fourth of the respondents also felt the serums are unsafe.
The survey was conducted on the internet between December 21 to 28 amid a raging debate between pro and anti-vaxxers, sparked by news that the government was already in the process of importing millions of doses of the Covid-19 vaccines from various manufacturers.
The survey’s findings were posted on the ministry’s social media accounts this evening.
Last week, Putrajaya had disclosed that it has secured vaccine coverage for another 10 per cent of the population and was on track to procure enough doses to vaccinate over 80 per cent of Malaysia at an estimated cost of RM2.05 billion.
AstraZeneca also said it will supply 6.4 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine to Malaysia next year without profit.