Health experts caution against the risk of confusion and denial of vaccines.

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PETALING JAYA: Malaysians have been urged by a medical think tank to trust the science behind the approved vaccines, particularly the mRNA variants developed by companies such as Pfizer/BioNTech, as the effects of rejecting them have far greater health consequences.

A statement by the Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy, endorsed by 20 medical leaders, said Malaysians need to be vigilant about spreading misinformation about the different vaccines that have been approved globally, a number of which will arrive in the country this year.

“Any approved Covid-19 vaccine is given the green light because regulators determine that it is safe and effective and carries significantly more benefits than risks, based on a review of clinical trial evidence and data,” it said.

The medical experts said statements peddling “fear-mongering and pseudoscience” about the mRNA vaccines approved by different global regulators “risk turning Malaysians completely off all Covid-19 vaccines, as some may not distinguish between one type of Covid-19 vaccine and another.”

While the pace of production of these vaccines is unparalleled, Malaysians were reminded that “these Covid-19 vaccine studies were conducted with the same scientific rigor as for any other vaccines.”

“As soon as the Covid-19 pandemic reached the planet, scientists began work. Large-scale clinical trials have been conducted by governments, international organizations, the private sector, academic institutions, and non-profits through global collaborative efforts, the statement said.

In addition, it said, research from the US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that disease complications can last for some patients for weeks after recovery, affecting even mild cases, and can include fatigue, chest pain, depression, and cognitive function issues.

It noted that as the vaccine rollout begins, there are still many obstacles to clearing, such as transparency in the procurement process and logistics of inoculating the entire adult population of the country.

“The national Covid-19 vaccination program in Malaysia needs a ‘all-of-society’ strategy. When the vaccines actually arrive in our country, we must work together to overcome significant immunisation hurdles. Constant misinformation and skepticism distracts fire-fighting from the job that lies ahead,” it added.

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