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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 18 — Malaysians should not be selective about which Covid-19 vaccine they will be given as all are safe, Dr Kalaiarasu M. Peariasamy from the Health Ministry advised today.
The director of the Clinical Research Institute, established under the ministry, gave an assurance that all the vaccines procured by the government have more than 50 per cent efficacy, which is acceptable within the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) minimum requirement.
“For example, one vaccine has a 62 per cent efficacy. That does not mean it is bad, it means it offers a reduction of the disease severity or the symptoms in that trial.
“But when you roll the vaccine out in the public, then it becomes effective in containing the disease. This is the preventive part where you vaccinate people — and as more people receive the vaccine, the less likely they are to get the disease,” he told reporters in a video conference answering questions about the national Covid-19 immunisation programme that will kick off next week.
He added that trials to mix and match different vaccines are currently underway in the United Kingdom, and that it is important to secure better evidence of the efficacy of the vaccines if they are mixed.
“Sometimes, people forget what vaccine they were given the first time around, and are given a different vaccine when they return for their follow-up shot.
“We need evidence to support the idea of mixing and matching vaccines,” said Dr Kalaiarasu.
He added it is important to get the science and data behind this first, and in the meantime, it is not advisable to say, “I want a certain vaccine over the other” when being allocated one.