Groups to Gov’t: Why rush into the Pfizer vaccine deal?

SEVERAL groups today called upon the Government to explain its rush in signing a deal to purchase Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine despite several unanswered questions.

“First up, are they proven to be safe and effective on people? Or are we just going treat people as guinea pigs?” the Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society president Amrahi Buang told FocusM.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the Government had signed a preliminary purchasing agreement with Pfizer, to obtain 12.8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to meet the immunisation needs of 6.4 million Malaysians.

The agreement, signed on Nov 24, was aimed at ensuring the Government had access to data to assess the vaccine’s quality, safety and effectiveness and at the same time, ensuring access once it was ready for distribution.

“Pfizer, on Nov 9, stated that the first interim data analysis showed that vaccine efficacy was at 95%.

“Through this agreement, Pfizer has pledged to deliver one million doses, 1.7 million doses, 5.8 million doses and 4.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine in the first, second, third and fourth quarters of 2021,” the Pagoh MP said as reported by The Edge.

Pfizer had stated that its vaccine was 95% effective against COVID-19 and showed no serious side effects on users.

However, the vaccine must be stored under -80 degrees Celcius to preserve its efficacy, unlike Moderna’s vaccine which can be stored under -20 degrees Celcius.

Urging caution, Amrahi said many are still in the dark about the Pfizer’s vaccine, such as whether it had any adverse effects following immunisation (AEFI) on those who participated in the clinical trials.

“Did any Malaysians participate in the third phase of Pfizer’s clinical trial? In the event of adverse effects, who will be held responsible?

“And what is the Government’s plan to monitor the vaccine’s effectiveness after being disbursed?” he asked.

Amrahi also question whether the vaccine, designed under the m-RNA technology, would alter a human genetic code once administered.

“By the way, do we even have the logistics ability to store the vaccine under -80 degrees Celcius? I hope the Government can provide answers to all this,” he said.

Echoing Amrahi’s concerns, Covid Research Centre Malaysia said Pfizer’s vaccine was designed using genetically-modified organism (GMO) technology, which may not be safe on humans.

“Both mRNA and mDNA vaccines have never been used on humans before, only on animals.

“There has been a lot of controversy in the Western media and scientific & medical circles on the safety of Pfizer’s GMO vaccine, partly due to the rush job in the clinical trials.

“Even if there are no harmful side effects today, what assurance is there that the side effects would not appear in a year’s time?” asked its spokesperson Azmi Anshar.

He added that the vaccine does not prevent COVID-19 transmission of the virus from human to human, only suppressing its symptoms.

“It should not even be called a vaccine, if that is the case,” said Azmi. –Nov 28, 2020

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