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YOURSAY | Mix-and-match boosters – fear of the unknown

YOURSAY | Why was the initial reluctance to make Sinovac available as boosters?

Epidemiologist decries misinformation on mix-and-match boosters

The Wakandan: Covid-19 and its vaccines are something new. The vaccines cannot wait for a conventional approval because it would take years for that to happen. Thus, we have to rely on the initial data.

We are among the first to go ahead with the booster dose but there are countries that went earlier. Those data certainly are not conclusive, but neither can we afford to have the Covid-19 virus.

Generally, it would be the benefit of the vaccines against the risk of Covid-19. And that is where the vaccine triumphs.

We can take heart that the countries that decided on the booster doses are technologically advanced countries, and as have been the case, sooner or later we will follow them too.

Other countries or anti-vaxxers may have the benefit of watching us before they decide on whether to implement the booster dose. But the lives lost because they did not act soon enough may be a high price to pay.

Why do people oppose the mixture of vaccines? Fear. Fear of the unknown. Covid-19 is known already, thus the fear is less but the mixing of the vaccines is relatively unknown, and that fear prevents people from getting it.

The big question is, do we have that luxury?

Malaysia Bharu: The Health Ministry seems oblivious to the side effects suffered by those vaccinated and neither do they have statistics of the aftereffects.

Many claim to have suffered adverse side effects following vaccination, such as extreme fatigue and some took months to recover their health.

That is why many are concerned about the booster. They are worried of undergoing similar or worse reactions. And that is also why they are hesitant of the mix and match that the ministry now advocates.

The ministry now pontificates efficacy levels as the key element for its mix-and-match booster programme. The low efficacy levels of Sinovac were well known from the start. So why did the Health Ministry force Sinovac on those that wanted Pfizer as first and second dose?

It appears the ministry sets its sales pitch according to whatever vaccine is at its disposal. Any wonder people are overly cautious of its booster programme?

BlueShark1548: Yes, the Health Ministry is partly to blame. It took too much time to announce that it was safe for those who took AstraZeneca or Sinovac to take the Pfizer booster jab.

Other countries had done it without any serious consequences much earlier. The ministry should have made announcements (to assure the public of its safety) before asking those affected to go for a booster jab after three months (for those who got Sinovac).

The delay caused concerns and naturally many did not keep their appointments.

Kam: The Recovam study results cited are so different from other studies on Sinovac that it deserves to be published in a peer-reviewed journal of international repute. Let it be subject to rigorous scrutiny first before its results are advertised.

If its effectiveness is only 28 percent three to five months after full vaccination, why is Sinovac still being offered as a booster vaccine or even a primary vaccine?

It should be withdrawn and the Recovam study should be immediately sent to the World Health Organization (WHO) so that it can be persuaded to affect a worldwide recall of Sinovac. Even if the Health Ministry cannot save Malaysians, it can save the world.

Is Sinovac a "crappy" vaccine, or is the Recovam study a "crappy" study, or is it the many commentators lying in wait who are "crappy"?

We await a rigorous peer review of the outlying Recovam study before we can decide.

Solo: The risk of getting infected is increasing. Unvaccinated people are five times more likely to get infected than a vaccinated person, and a vaccinated person is also five times more likely to get infected than a person who has had the booster.

Mixing and matching vaccines are occurring everywhere without any serious side effects. Some do it because they are running out of the original vaccine, while others want to compensate for the reduced effectiveness of the original ones.

Get the Pfizer booster, unless you have very good reason not to. Otherwise, pick the next available one. Something is better than nothing.

Dr Raman Letchumanan: There is no trust in the government's vaccination initiative, with all its twists and turns. They seem to be more motivated by money rather than science.

All we are asking for is giving us the same vaccine. We complied dutifully for the primary vaccination. Why split hairs between 90 percent and 70 percent efficacy?

Pharmaniaga is exporting vaccines to Myanmar. But yet the government is reluctant to make Sinovac available to its own people? Even though these other vaccines cost more and are expensive to store. Still want to raid the National Trust Fund (Kwan)?

The more the government pushes for heterologous vaccines, the more we feel there is a hidden agenda.

The government pushed Sinovac against all advice, now it is shunning it against the wants of the rakyat. So, is there now a new set of epidemiologists and medical experts? Even the minister is the same when the government changed as far as vaccination is concerned.

We are not playing a game of mix and match here. You are playing with our lives and the health of the nation.

The Middle Lane: There are some people who would say it's their life and only they can decide what's best for themselves, but do they really know the deep science in medical technology that are producing safe medicine for the human race?

Unless and until one is a research scientist, take what is offered to protect your life or regret it when you're unable to breathe in the hospital bed. It will be too late then to listen to advice. 

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