Spinnot: So what if Coordinating Minister for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme Khairy Jamaluddin takes the Sinovac vaccine after its approval by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA)?
The vaccine has already been approved in 12 countries - Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Laos, Mexico, Philippines, Thailand, Turkey and Uruguay.
The Indonesian president, Turkish president, Chilean president and Thai prime minister are among the world leaders who have taken the Sinovac jab.
The Sinovac vaccine reported an efficacy rate of 50.4 percent in Brazil, 65.3 percent in Indonesia and 91.25 percent in Turkey.
A lot of negative spins have been made by the Western media about Sinovac's different efficacy rates, but they have said nothing about Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine which reported 57 percent efficacy in South Africa, 66 percent in Latin America and 72 percent in US.
Moreover, Johnson & Johnson's final trials were all conducted by the company itself using the same protocol whereas Sinovac's final trials were conducted independently by its local partners, each using its own protocols.
BrownImpala350: @Spinnot, personally I am wrestling with the issue of Sinovac.
From my reading, I think Sinovac may be suitable for use with lower-risk people whose immune systems are better. For older people with aged and compromised immune systems, I believe that the mRNA approach will offer a better result.
So, the best approach the government could take is to use the mRNA vaccines on the older group, particularly those with comorbidities and use the traditional vaccines such as Sinovac on the younger cohort, who will generate a better immune response.
The minister, being a young and extremely fit person, is an ideal candidate for Sinovac.
My problem then is, if offered the Sinovac vaccine, do I take it, even though I don't believe it will be effective to protect me against the virus, but it may partially mitigate the most serious symptoms?
Or should I wait till later when I am sure you will be able to get a vaccination of choice in the private sector? Other people do not trust the mRNA vaccines based on their own reasons.
BrownShark8874: Your effort is commendable, Khairy. I presume your other cabinet colleagues just want the best for themselves.
The adage ‘cakap tak serupa bikin’ (doesn’t walk the talk) applies to them, who always profess that the rakyat comes first.
MarioT: Yes, good leadership by example. However, I would still wait and see the effectiveness of the vaccines being considered by the Health Ministry.
At this point in time, my choice is the Pfizer vaccine since it has been administered without any side effects.
Enlightened Globalist: There should be a choice of vaccines. After all, it is our body and we should be comfortable with the vaccine we receive.
Exceptions would be those deemed high-risk like healthcare workers, who should be given the most effective vaccines, namely Pfizer. Also, those with medical conditions or a weakened immune system, where only certain vaccines are appropriate.
The rest should be given a choice. I notice that a lot of commenters here prefer the Chinese vaccines and swear by them. Others have doubts about vaccines with new technology.
Let us all choose. Simply have an additional question (What vaccine would you prefer?) in the MySejahtera app. Then the automated computer can do the rest.
The safest vaccine policy is:
1. Pfizer/Moderna vaccine for high-risk like healthcare workers, those above 60 years old and the vulnerable.
2. For all those below 60 years old and in good health, the Oxford Zeneca should be good. Chinese vaccines are an alternative, if approved.
3. For all those who are strong believers that the Chinese vaccines (even if not approved) are the best and safest, they are free to use them. Let’s walk the talk.
Apanakdikato: Singapore received its first shipment of China’s Sinovac vaccine on Feb 23 but has yet to authorise it for use.
Ordering Sinovac from China could also be seen as a diplomatic move by Singapore, but it remains to be seen whether the data submitted by Sinovac will meet the Singapore Health Ministry requirements.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have received interim authorisation in Singapore and are being administered.
If Khairy thinks that he can instil public confidence in any particular vaccine by "putting a brave front", he might be wrong.
The efficacy and safety of any vaccine should be based on peer-reviewed scientific data. The Malaysian vaccination approach of "take it or leave it", based on unproven vaccines like Sinovac and Sputnik V, will only lead to more confusion and apprehension among members of the public.
Our Health Ministry should learn from the well-managed Singapore vaccination programme, where general practitioners are roped in to accelerate the vaccination rate.
It must be remembered that unless the vaccine gets into the arms of the majority of the people in Malaysia in the fastest time, the possibility of virus mutation will increase the risk of more infectious and lethal strains circulating in the country. This might render the entire vaccination programme less or even totally ineffective.
Bewise: The differing opinions here are certainly interesting. I am not sure whether citizens are aware of Malaysia's standing where the ability to obtain vaccinations is concerned. Who are we to bargain with these pharmaceutical companies? Malaysia - the most powerful country in the world?
We can argue till the cows come home, but we cannot change the fact that there is an acute shortage of vaccines available globally - be it black, red, yellow or white. Let's admit it, we are in a "beggars can't be choosers" situation.
We seem to have forgotten about the personal protective equipment (PPEs) saga. How nations were fighting over shortages of masks and PPEs and depended on China to meet their demands. How come I did not hear a squeak from anybody then?
There are those who are for mRNAs, those for good old-fashioned traditional vaccines, and those who don't trust vaccines completely.
Heck! To each his own. What we should be worrying right now is whether we can obtain as many vaccines as we can to cover our country's entire population.
Like Khairy, I am more than happy to take whatever jab comes along. I am really fed up with this prolonged restrictive situation. Wouldn't it be beneficial for everyone if we can go back to pre-Covid-19 days? That we can all go back to our normal lives?
To me, this is more important than the fear of dying from a jab.
The above is a selection of comments posted by Malaysiakini subscribers. Only paying subscribers can post comments. In the past one year, Malaysiakinians have posted over 100,000 comments. Join the Malaysiakini community and help set the news agenda. Subscribe now.
These comments are compiled to reflect the views of Malaysiakini subscribers on matters of public interest. Malaysiakini does not intend to represent these views as fact.
Which covid vaccine is the best, Moderna, Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson?
Something sounds fishy when public health experts advise us to take whatever vaccine is available even though some vaccines show much more promising efficacy numbers than others. And it’s understandable that people would want to shop for the best vaccine. Americans are accustomed to the idea of consumer choice in pharmaceuticals — why else would we have so much direct-to-consumer drug advertising? But cut through the noise and there’s only one thing that really matters: all three FDA-authorized vaccines seem to work equally well — close to 100% — at preventing hospitalization and death.
That message has gotten diluted in the reporting around the the efficacy numbers for different vaccines. The efficacy numbers associated with the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines came in at around 95%, while the newly approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine has shown a less impressive 72% in the U.S., and even lower in other countries. As risk communication expert Peter Sandman says, people remember from school that 95% usually earns and A, and 72% a C at best.
The problem is that numbers most touted to measure “efficacy" measure various degrees of symptoms plus a positive test — criteria that vary some from trial to trial. They don’t measure what’s most important: protection against hospitalization and death.
And on that score, all three vaccines are outstanding. So public health experts are justified in suggesting people take the first vaccine available.
People aren’t only worried about dying from Covid; they’re also worried about getting so-called long Covid and transmitting the disease to others even after they’re vaccinated. There’s no data one way or the other one whether vaccination cuts the risk of long Covid for those who get sick, but all the vaccines appear to reduce the number of people who get mild illness or asymptomatic cases, and thereby probably reduce transmission.
While the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines work the same way, Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine works through a different mechanism. The first two use messenger RNA, and the latter uses DNA, which is ferried to the nucleus of cells with a different kind of virus, called an adenovirus, modified so it can’t replicate itself and cause disease. All three vaccines have good safety data, and all of them prompt the body to produce T-cells, which retain a sort of memory of the protein and attack it.
One reason for the seemingly stark difference in efficacy numbers is that the clinical trials were held in very different groups of people. The Johnson & Johnson trial enrolled more people with hypertension, diabetes and HIV, as well as more people over 60, says University of California infectious disease doctor Monica Gandhi. Johnson and Johnson’s results also came from testing people in South Africa and Latin America at a time when new variants of the virus were already rampant. The important thing to note, says Gandhi, is that nobody who got the vaccine in the clinical trials — for any of the shots — was hospitalized for Covid-19. None of them died. None even got a severe enough case to require medical intervention at all.
The absence of hospitalizations and deaths in the Johnson and Johnson trial looks even more impressive given that the volunteers included people who were more vulnerable to dying from the virus. Gandhi says she’d advise her own 80-something parents to get that shot if it was the first one available.
Earlier this year, Yale University epidemiologist Robert Hecht had told me in an interview that he thought more lives could be saved by vaccinating people in so-called hot spots where there was an unusually high burden of disease. I called him back and asked whether the single-shot advantage of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine might make it a good choice for those places. He agreed it would, but worried about the perception that it’s an inferior vaccine, which could incite outrage about racial or socioeconomic injustice.
Other experts are also wrestling with this question, since the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is cheaper than the other approved shots, delivered in a single dose, and requires only ordinary refrigeration rather than ultra-cold storage. That would make it a practical choice for vaccinating homeless people, and those in hard-to-reach rural areas, but again, experts are wrestling with the perception of inequality.
That concern isn’t justified, given a proper interpretation of the data. Even the perception of unfairness, though, could be harmful. Giving people the ability to vaccine-shop might help more hesitant people feel more in control and less coerced — but also inadvertently prolong the pandemic.
Getting the one-shot vaccine out as fast as possible and focusing on virus hot spots would save lives and hasten a return to some level of normal life. It’s now up to the public health community to send out a clearer message and get the public on board.
The most important numbers here aren't 95% or 72%, but 0%: the number of vaccinated people who've died from the virus. When that's the emphasis, the message to get the first available vaccine makes a lot more sense.
Austria Suspends AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine Batch After Woman's Death One 49-year-old woman died as a result of severe coagulation disorders, while a 35-year-old woman developed a pulmonary embolism and is recovering.
Austrian authorities have suspended inoculations with a batch of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine as a precaution while investigating the death of one person and the illness of another after the shots, a health agency said on Sunday.
"The Federal Office for Safety in Health Care (BASG) has received two reports in a temporal connection with a vaccination from the same batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the district clinic of Zwettl" in Lower Austria province, it said.
One 49-year-old woman died as a result of severe coagulation disorders, while a 35-year-old woman developed a pulmonary embolism and is recovering, it said. A pulmonary embolism is an acute lung disease caused by a dislodged blood clot.
"Currently there is no evidence of a causal relationship with the vaccination," BASG said.
Swiss newspaper Niederoesterreichische Nachrichten as well as broadcaster ORF and the APA news agency reported that the women were both nurses who worked at the Zwettl clinic.
BASG said blood clotting was not among the known side effects of the vaccine. It was pursuing its investigation vigorously to completely rule out any possible link.
"As a precautionary measure, the remaining stocks of the affected vaccine batch are no longer being issued or vaccinated," it added.
AstraZeneca had no immediate comment when contacted by Reuters.
The APA news agency quoted AstraZeneca as saying the company was in contact with Austrian authorities and would fully support the investigation.
It noted the vaccine had been approved by the European Medicines Agency and the World Health Organization based on a global clinical program involving 23,000 participants.
"All of these evaluations have concluded that the AstraZeneca COVID-19 19 vaccine is safe and effective," APA quoted the company as saying.
European Union regulators on Jan. 30 approved the product, saying it was effective and safe to use. Adverse reactions seen in trials were short-lived for the most part and blood clotting issues were not reported. (Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)