AstraZeneca isn’t a threat, but vaccine selectiveness is the bigger danger

AUGUST 4 — A recent study found that the safety profiles of AstraZeneca’s Vaxzevria vaccine and Pfizer’s Corminaty were similar.

It’s good news but the damage done by EU figures such as France’s Emmanuel Macron is hard to reverse. 

Why did people forget that in the early days there were deaths reported after Pfizer shots among the more vulnerable elderly and yet the response was nothing like the near-hysteria over the supposed danger posed by taking AstraZeneca’s jab?

The odds are in the vaccine’s favour

I did not expect a piece in the Telegraph of all places about the new research especially as papers with a more conservative-bent have been no friend to vaccines or Covid awareness. 

It had an interesting infographic that showed the risk of dying in childbirth was one in 12,500 births while the chances of getting a clot from the AstraZeneca vaccine was one in 250,000 and dying from the jab was one in a million.

If people were as terrified of having children as people were scared off by the vaccine, humanity would likely be extinct.

Don’t choose your jabs

Recently a letter went viral on social media — apparently some Malaysian hired lawyers to send a demand for Pfizer shots, claiming an antibody test came back negative after finishing a course of Sinovac.

It sets a dangerous precedent; how will we stop the rich and connected from trotting out their lawyers to get themselves specific vaccine brands?

Antibody tests are also not foolproof. The immune response produced by the body after being infected and after vaccines are different; measuring antibodies after a Covid-19 infection is not easy either, with cases where some tests could not detect said antibodies.

Walk-in vaccine recipients queue up to register for their Covid-19 jabs at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre vaccination centre, August 2, 2021. ― Picture by Hari Anggara
Walk-in vaccine recipients queue up to register for their Covid-19 jabs at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre vaccination centre, August 2, 2021. ― Picture by Hari Anggara

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This is the reality — the government has procured vaccines for us to take for free, with the caveat being we will have to settle for whatever is available and unless you have a valid medical reason, choice is not an option.

Considering that even richer countries such as Australia are struggling to procure jabs from Pfizer due to high global demand and poorer countries cannot afford to buy vaccines, instead depending on donations, we are still lucky. 

A literal shot in the arm

It’s a little tiresome to see people sharing pictures of how Western countries seem to be enjoying freedoms we can’t — concerts, parties and bar hopping among others.

The reality is that mask mandates are returning, and lockdown measures might see a return due to the sad fact that like us, richer countries have to deal with the scourge of the 21st century: anti-vaxxers.

You can go into Target for a Covid vaccine in the US while Malaysians have to twiddle their thumbs waiting for a turn.

The Malaysian vaccine jab taskforce hotline is near-unresponsive; getting a reply on Twitter from them is like winning the lottery.

Yes, it is right to complain and tell the vaccine taskforce to do better. At the same time we need to roll up our sleeves and get on with things — when your turn comes, present your arm, cross your fingers and feel damn lucky. 

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.


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