Vaccine is still effective if Covid-19 virus mutates, says expert

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KUALA LUMPUR: A Covid-19 vaccine will still be effective if the virus mutates, an expert said last night.

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Dr Musa Mohd Nordin, a consultant paediatrician at KPJ Damansara Specialist Hospital, said this is because the human body itself is “intelligent”, as it not only releases antibodies to kill a virus, but also produces antibodies that have immunological memory.

Musa said even if a person’s antibody level decreases, the human body has memory cells that can produce new antibodies when attacked by a virus.

“Despite the decrease (in antibodies), there are only about 30 cases of reinfections so far. Imagine, out of the over 80 million Covid-19 cases, the ones affected by Covid-19 a second time are only about 30,” he said during a “Wacana Sinar Harian” programme here.

The other panellists were International Islamic University (IIUM) rector Dzulkifli Abdul Razak and Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin.

On vaccine safety, Musa said experts considered a two-month period as being sufficient to identify more than 90% of the main side effects.

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So far, he said, 90% of the side effects identified were minor, such as pain, redness and swelling at the place of injection, which usually heals within two days.

For systemic effects such as dizziness, weakness, fatigue and fever, it is about 50%, especially for those who were below 55, and who received a second dose of the injection.

“This is a small side effect after immunisation, there are no warnings of greater danger. I hope Malaysians remain open-minded and do not be influenced by social media that is not based on proof, arguments and facts. We must check the facts,” he said.

Dzulkifli touched on the issue of discrimination in terms of availability, accessibility and affordability in health-related matters, especially with regard to the Covid-19 vaccine.

He said, for example, although the vaccine is available, rural communities may not have access to them.

“So, this is a question that we need to focus on, because we find that discrimination in the society is still rampant, especially in terms of health. Will the information reach the (people at the) shores or upstream?

“If we look at it in the global context, rich countries will get this (vaccine) first. It is as if other people are not important in this context. This is one of the aspects that we need to think about when we want to provide (the vaccine) to all the people,” he said.- BERNAMA

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