PUTRAJAYA, May 4 — The Health Ministry (MOH) will constantly monitor the incidence of blood clots with the administration of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and gives an assurance of immediate treatment in the event of such an incident occurring, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba.
“The occurrence of blood clots is very rare, and the administration of this vaccine has taken into account its benefits in preventing COVID-19 infection, which outweighs the risks from vaccination,” he said in a statement today.
Malaysia received 268,800 doses of COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine through the COVAX Facility on April 24, and the vaccine will be administered to members of the public tomorrow.
The AstraZeneca vaccination is open to 268,000 individuals on a ‘first-come-first-served’ basis for Kuala Lumpur and Selangor residents, and the first appointment slot for the vaccination will be held tomorrow at the designated vaccination centres (PPVs).
The PPVs are Universiti Malaya (UM), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Kuala Lumpur World Trade Centre and Shah Alam Ideal Convention Centre (IDCC).
Dr Adham said that AstraZeneca vaccine recipients were advised to constantly monitor their health, and seek immediate treatment if they experienced symptoms within four days to four weeks after being inoculated.
He said immediate treatment should be sought if there are symptoms such as a severe headache that does not go away with painkillers or gets worse, and the headache gets worse when lying down or while bending over.
Other symptoms are unusual headaches accompanied by blurred vision; nausea and vomiting; difficulty speaking; weakness; drowsiness or seizures; small spots on the skin; bruising or bleeding and difficulty breathing; chest pain; swelling in the legs or persistent abdominal pain, he said.
Dr Adham said that medical practitioners treating AstraZeneca vaccine recipients’ cases should investigate whether the individual had received the vaccine within 30 days before symptoms began.
The medical practitioner will also need to do a further examination to confirm whether the symptoms shown are due to blood clots.
“Relevant examinations including blood and radiology examinations should be carried out as soon as possible. Immediate treatment should be given if the test results show that blood clotting has actually occurred,” he said.
Haematologists should be contacted immediately for advice, and medical practitioners should also prepare an adverse event following immunisation (AEFI) report to the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA), he said.