PERSOALAN BERKENAAN UBAT?
Talian bebas tol:
1800 – 88 – 6722
Pusat Panggilan Farmasi Kebangsaan (NPCC)
Waktu operasi: 8 pagi – 5 petang
(Isnin – Jumaat, kecuali Cuti Umum)
Continuous promotion of the COVID-19 vaccine is crucial in achieving 80% of Malaysians getting the vaccination. The ultimate aim is to attain herd immunity for the community. Herd immunity indirectly protects vulnerable individuals such as children and immunocompromised patients who cannot receive the vaccination.
However, there are false claims circulated through social media and speculated the uncertainty of COVID-19 vaccine safety. These viral messages cause confusion and misunderstanding among the community members.
It is of utmost importance to clarify these misunderstanding to ensure the public understands the facts about the COVID-19 vaccine. This clarification is also crucial to prevent people from being misled and eventually refuse for vaccination.
Clarification on the Misinterpretation of the COVID-19 Vaccine
1. Rapid production of this vaccine makes it unsafe
Previous studies on coronaviruses since a few years back allow rapid development of the COVID-19 vaccine. Various individuals, organizations and nations contributed up to billions of capital for the development of this vaccine. This vast financial aid provides more advanced technologies to assist the studies.
The safety and efficiency of the vaccines have been evaluated and monitored by regulators globally. In Malaysia, the immunisation programme uses only vaccines approved by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA). Covid-19 vaccine registration warrants a detailed evaluation of the vaccine based on scientific and clinical data.This evaluation is essential to ensure it is safe for use.
2. The COVID-19 vaccine can alter human genetics because it uses messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) technology.
The mRNA in the COVID-19 vaccine will instruct cells in the body to produce proteins that resemble parts of the COVID-19 virus. This part is not infectious, but it will trigger the immune system to produce antibodies against the actual COVID-19 viruses.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), mRNA only enters the cell cytoplasm. It does not enter the nucleus to interact with deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).
3. Side effects of COVID-19 are dangerous and life-threatening
Not all adverse events following immunization (AEFI) are due to the vaccine or the vaccination process, but some AEFI will inevitably occur by chance.
Most individuals will encounter common AEFI such as fever, pain at the injection site, muscle ache, and body weakness. It indicates the immune system is responding to the vaccination. These AEFI will subside naturally. Otherwise, the vaccine recipient may treat the AEFI with over-the-counter medications, for example, antipyretic and pain killers.
However, some individuals might experience a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), rashes all over the body, and breathing difficulty, but it is rare.
Therefore, healthcare professionals at the vaccination centre will assess the health status and medical history before each vaccination to decide whether or not the recipient is safe to receive the vaccine.
Besides, the vaccine recipients will also be monitored for 15 to 30 minutes after injection at the vaccination centre to ensure they do not experience any adverse effects.
4. The COVID-19 vaccine contains non-halal ingredients.
There are allegations that one of the COVID-19 vaccines contains non-halal substances, causing doubt among Muslim vaccine recipients.
The fact is, all COVID-19 vaccines registered in Malaysia are halal and do not contain any animal-derived ingredients or prohibited substances.
In addition, in December 2020, the Muzakarah of the National Council for Islamic Religious Affairs Malaysia also decided that the law on taking the COVID-19 vaccine is a must as designated by the Malaysian government. Therefore, Muslim vaccine recipients should not be apprehensive about receiving COVID-19 vaccine injections.
5. The COVID-19 vaccine can cause COVID-19 infection to the recipients.
The message comes from the argument that the COVID-19 vaccine contains antigens derived from the COVID-19 virus or resembling the virus. For clarification, the COVID-19 vaccine stimulates the body's immune system to produce antibodies against the COVID-19 virus. The antigens found in the vaccine are only enough to trigger an immune system response but are incapable of causing an infection.
For the case of the mRNA vaccine, the vaccines do not contain the COVID-19 virus. Plus, the body will excrete the mRNA protein within 72 hours after vaccination.
Another type of vaccine is the inactivated vaccine, which is a vaccine that contains an attenuated virus. These antigens do not cause COVID-19 infections but stimulate antibodies production to fight the virus.
However, the body needs time to build immunity against the COVID-19 virus after vaccination. During this period, there are possibilities that vaccine recipients can be infected with the COVID-19 virus by other factors, for not wearing a face mask when in a crowded and confined place.
6. Vaccine recipient does not need to wear a face mask and practice physical distancing once vaccinated.
It is wrong to assume so because everyone is encouraged to continue practising the new norm to prevent the transmission of the COVID-19 virus in the community. Vaccine recipients should continue wearing face masks, maintain personal hygiene by washing or sanitizing the hands and practising physical distancing.
The reason to be compliant with the preventive measure is that some individuals are yet to receive the vaccination.
Be Wary Of Incorrect Messages
The COVID-19 vaccines used for the National COVID-19 Immunization Program are generally safe, efficient and of acceptable quality. The public is advised not to be misled by incorrect messages related to vaccines.
Please visit the website www.vaksincovid.gov.my or covid-19.moh.gov.my/vaksin-covid-19 for more information on the COVID-19 vaccines and the National COVID-19 Immunization Program. Everyone are also urged not to share any unvalidated news or facts.
Please call the National Pharmacy Call Centre (NPCC) Toll-Free Line at 1800-88-6722 (Monday to Friday from 8 am to 5 pm) if there are any inquiries regarding medicines.
Prepared by : Payal Choudhury Pharmacist Ministry of Health Malaysia