Malaysia apologises for 'human error' over empty Covid-19 jab

The country has administered 16,024,916 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.
The country has administered 16,024,916 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR (BLOOMBERG) - Malaysia has confirmed one case of a person being injected with an empty syringe in its national vaccination roll-out, categorising it as a human error.

In addition, there were two cases where individuals were given an extra dose of the coronavirus vaccine because it was unclear whether they had been administered empty syringes, said Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin in a briefing on Friday (July 23).

"Even if there's one single error, that's one error too many," said Mr Khairy. "So for those cases where there was human negligence, I apologise to them. And, of course, we will do better."

The one case of "empty vaccination", which occurred in the northern state of Kedah, was confirmed after a nurse admitted that she had been negligent due to exhaustion, said Mr Khairy.

Disciplinary action will be taken against her, he said.

Thirteen police reports have been lodged so far on the matter, with most of them found to be false or inconclusive, said Mr Khairy.

Some of them were lodged by recipients who did not experience any side effects after getting their jabs, he was quoted by the Malay Mail news portal as saying.

The country has administered 16,024,916 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, according to the Health Ministry on Friday.

In a Facebook post, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said nearly half of the country's adult population have received at least one dose and 21.8 per cent have received both doses.

In future, recipients are permitted to record their vaccination process to prevent errors from happening, said Mr Khairy.

This is amid the government's push to fully vaccinate all adults by October as infections remain elevated. 

The country registered an all-time high of 15,573 new coronavirus cases on Friday. Some 15.6 per cent of the population have received both doses of the vaccine as of Thursday.

"I would like to advise the public to understand the context of these cases and to ensure that we preserve the integrity of the national immunisation programme," said Mr Khairy.

"And also the integrity of the thousands of nurses, doctors and front-liners who are risking their lives vaccinating at a rate of half a million a day."