Malaysia looks into reports of 18 'adverse' response to vaccines in Selangor prison

The Kajang prison vaccination programme was held from Sept 23 to Oct 22, and involved 4,185 prisoners. PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: EPA-EFE

PETALING JAYA - Malaysia's Health Ministry said it was investigating 18 cases of "adverse effects following immunisation", or AEFI, at a prison in Selangor state.

National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA)'s director Dr Roshayati Mohamad Sani said in a statement on Tuesday (Jan 4): "The Health Ministry is continuously monitoring the safe usage of all vaccines including Covid-19 vaccines through the NPRA by monitoring the AEFI reports."

In the statement that was tweeted by the Ministry of Health, she did not elaborate on what had happened in the vaccination drive in Kajang Prison in Selangor.

Free Malaysia Today (FMT) news site reported that a viral letter from Kajang prison director Mohd Andri Ridzwan to the Hulu Langat district health office alleged that two deaths were reported among the 2,782 prisoners vaccinated.

Another news site, The Vibes, on Tuesday said the Ministry of Health's statement was issued in response to a letter by Hulu Langat district health officer Zailiza Suli which had gone viral.

The Dr Zailiza letter, The Vibes report said, detailed the 18 cases of AEFI reported among prisoners.

The FMT report quoting the prison director's letter said the two deaths happened within one month of the duo receiving their jabs.

In the letter, the news site said, Mr Mohd Andri alleged that apart from the two deaths, the others developed heart inflammation, paralysis and lung infection after vaccination.

Mr Mohd Andri allegedly wrote to the district health office to get its view on the need to give prisoners booster doses.

The Kajang prison vaccination programme was held from Sept 23 to Oct 22, and involved 4,185 prisoners, FMT said.

Dr Roshayati in her statement said all reports stated in the letter that went viral have been received by the NPRA and are being investigated.

"The AEFI's reports, which were classified as serious, include deaths and are being investigated," she said in the statement.

The investigations are being conducted by the Selangor's Hulu Langat District Health Office and the Selangor Health Department.

"This is to obtain complete information and report findings which are then presented to the Special Pharmacovigilance Committee for Covid-19 Vaccine Monitoring to confirm casualties or links between the vaccines and the reported adverse events," she said.

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