So you’ve registered for the free COVID-19 vaccination. Then, while waiting for your turn to be vaccinated, you hear that Malaysia plans to utilise five types of vaccines for the National Immunisation Programme (NIP), with COVID-19 vaccine names and suppliers such as Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Sinovac, CanSino Biologics and Sputnik V being featured in the media.
Which COVID-19 vaccine will you be receiving?
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin recently stated that Malaysians will not be able to choose which COVID-19 vaccine they want due to logistical concerns (according to a report by The Star).
Instead, he said the vaccines will be allocated according to the government’s mapping plan, based on their storage requirements and the vaccination centres identified by the Health Ministry.
It’s best to read up about the five COVID-19 vaccines that will be utilised for the National Immunisation Programme (NIP), as you won’t be able to choose which vaccine to take.
Types of COVID-19 vaccines in Malaysia
The Star has shared some helpful info to give you a clearer picture of the vaccine you’ll possibly receive. As these five types of COVID-19 vaccines will be part of the country’s immunisation plan, subject to approval by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA), it’s best to read up about them.
The full details are in the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme Handbook, but you can check out the key facts here.
Total no. of doses ordered: 32 million
No. of doses per person: 2 doses, 3 weeks apart
Known as Comirnaty, this vaccine was developed by the New York-based pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer and the German company BioNTech. It boasts an efficacy rate of 95% (a reduction of risk in disease). That means your chance of contracting the disease drops by 95% upon vaccination.
Total no. of doses ordered: 12.8 million
No. of doses per person: 2 doses, 4 weeks apart
The AZD1222 vaccine was developed by researchers with the University of Oxford and the British-Swedish company AstraZeneca. It has an efficacy rate of 62% - 90%.
Total no. of doses ordered: 12 million
No. of doses per person: 2 doses, 2 weeks apart
Called CoronaVac, this vaccine was developed by Sinovac Biotech, a private Chinese company. Sinovac’s vaccine has an efficacy of 50.4% - 91.25%.
4. CanSino Biologics
Total no. of doses ordered: 3.5 million
No. of doses per person: 1 dose
This vaccine is known as Convidecia and it was developed by Chinese company CanSino Biologics in partnership with the Institute of Biology at the country’s Academy of Military Medical Sciences. It boasts a 65.7% efficacy rate.
5. Sputnik V
Total no. of doses ordered: 6.4 million
No. of doses per person: 2 doses, 3 weeks apart
The Sputnik V vaccine was developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute, which is part of Russia’s Ministry of Health. It has a 91.6% efficacy rate.
Are there side effects from taking the vaccine?
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah recently pointed out that only four in a million people may get side effects after getting vaccinated for Covid-19.
He added that the Health Ministry is prepared to handle such situations if it happens during or after the vaccination of any individuals. Every person who will be receiving the COVID-19 vaccine will have to go through five stations at a Vaccine Dispensing Centre (PPV). This process, which takes about 15 to 30 minutes, also includes monitoring for side effects.
Dr Noor Hisham also highlighted that vaccinated individuals can report any side effects that occur through the MySejahtera app.
According to the CDC, possible side effects may include pain, redness, and swelling in your arm area.
Possible side effects
According to the U.S.-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), possible side effects from the vaccination may include pain, redness, and swelling in your arm area where you receive the vaccination shot. Other side effects include tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea.
The CDC also explained that these side effects are normal signs that your body is building protection and should go away in a few days’ time.
Who shouldn't take the COVID-19 vaccine?
According to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is safe and effective. However, the vaccination is not recommended for certain groups of people due to limited data – such as individuals with severe allergies, most pregnant women, children under 16 and people with known medical conditions.
As for the other vaccines, you are encouraged to refer to credible sources such as the WHO official website for more info.
If there are complications from the COVID-19 vaccine, what should I do?
There’s nothing much you can do to avoid that risk of potential side effects from COVID-19 vaccines, but you can protect your health and wallet if any complications happen (touch wood!).
Some insurance companies now offer medical coverage that includes treatment for COVID-19 vaccination complications. Affordable takaful plans such as those from Zurich General Takaful offer financial compensation and most importantly, peace of mind.
Zurich’s Z-eCoVac Protect Takaful is an affordable plan that covers you against accidental death and permanent disablement. The plan also provides COVID-19 post-vaccination benefits. You may subscribe to this plan for only RM18.