Former Health DG Reassures Malaysians About AstraZeneca Vaccine Side Effects

AstraZeneca recently announced a global withdrawal of their COVID-19 vaccines due to side effects like blood clots and low platelet counts. 

former health dg reassures malaysians about astrazeneca vaccine side effectsPhoto via New Straits Times

However, former Malaysian Health Director-General Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah reassures Malaysians that there's no need for concern.

Dr. Noor Hisham took to Twitter to explain that the side effect, Vaccine Induced Immune Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia (VITT), is extremely rare, occurring only about four times per million injections. He emphasised that this side effect appears within four weeks of vaccination, so if it hasn’t happened yet, it’s unlikely to occur.

He clarified, “VITT, associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine, involves blood clots and a reduction in platelets. It only manifests between four days to four weeks after vaccination. There’s no cause for worry as the AstraZeneca vaccine hasn't been administered for several years. The recent court case in the UK pertains to an incident during the COVID-19 pandemic, not to any new cases.”

During the pandemic, the Malaysian Ministry of Health (MoH) was aware of VITT but continued to administer the AstraZeneca vaccine due to the high death rates from COVID-19 among the unvaccinated. The vaccine was critical in managing the crisis, despite the rare risk of VITT. High-risk individuals with a history of blood clots were excluded from receiving this vaccine.

Dr. Noor Hisham also noted that current instances of heart attacks, strokes, and blood clotting are unrelated to AstraZeneca, as its vaccine is no longer in use.